Senate Y2k Committee to Examine Unprepared Agencies : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

The Senate Y2k Committee has a new look, and updated info now that Congress is back. Details on upcoming hearing at:

The site's been updated with other news as well.

Included: this--from Senator Dodd (The URL indicates this editorial piece was published or written on April 7, 1999).

"Many Y2K Issues Have Been Solved; More Remain By Christopher J. Dodd

Paul Revere once rode through the night to warn of impending danger from Britain's Redcoats. Like this legendary figure, the Senate Special Committee on the Year 2000 is raising an alarm to wake those who have not yet heard the warnings about potential Y2K problems. The Y2K bug, as it has come to be known, prevents computers from correctly reading the year 2000 and has the potential to cause a wide array of system failures.

Whether getting money from the bank, buying groceries, flying in a plane, using an elevator, or checking into a hospital, we rely daily upon unseen, and most cases unknown, technology to keep our lives running smoothly and safely. This past week, our Committee released its first report highlighting the potential effects of this troubling but correctable problem.

The good news is that many of our nation's critical industry sectors are almost completely Y2K compliant. The two to three areas that are not, are not expected to cause wide- spread, cataclysmic problems. Telecommunications, utilities, general business, and financial institutions are all well on their way to meeting the year 2000 free of any Y2K implications. Yes your ATM card will work, and yes, there will be power. Problems that do occur are expected to be dealt with within seventy-two hours, causing little inconvenience to people and virtually no danger. However, problems do exist in some of our domestic sectors.

Unfortunately, the health care sector, arguably one of the most critical as well as the nation's largest, is lagging significantly in its Y2K preparedness efforts.

With help from the Stamford-based Gartner Group, the Committee determined that nearly two-thirds of the country's hospitals, particularly smaller ones, have no plans to test for Y2K problems. Eighty to ninety percent of the 800,000 doctors' offices across the country are unaware of potential Y2K problems that may exist in equipment that they and their patients rely on including fetal heart monitors and life support systems. Add to this the need for compliance in bio-medical devices, billing systems and medicines, and you have either a heart attack or at least a headache in the making.

And unfortunately, some are still not heeding the call to arms. Last year, I forced several hundred medical device manufacturers to comply with a simple request by the Food and Drug Administration on Y2K compliance. Today more than seventy percent of the companies have complied.

However, all of this talk of potential problems, is not meant to make people think the end of the world is coming. It is not.

The Connecticut Hospital Association is doing its part, recently reporting that state hospitals are spending upwards of $60 million on Y2K compliance and I'm working on a bill to award Y2K grants to small and rural hospitals, which have fewer resources available to them.

The Y2K problem, like many others we face on a daily basis, should be met with logic and common sense, not senseless panic and hysteria. We in the North East are used to powerful winter storms and are accustomed to having a three day supply of food on stock in case of emergencies. These are not what I call, "survivalist tactics," but are preventative measures that should be taken here as well.

The bad news is that the international community, which also includes a large portion of the transportation sector, is not prepared nor is it expected to be by New Year's Eve 1999.

Many of our trading partners are behind in their efforts to identify and address Y2K problems. While this may not seem initially of great concern to our continued health and well-being, it is. International Y2K failures can be pervasive and have the potential to cause a number of interrelated problems both in the nation and in Connecticut. Almost eighty percent of the ingredients for medicines Americans depend on are manufactured overseas. Pharmaceutical shipments may not reach the U.S. if international ports are forced to close due to Y2K failures. This is of particular importance considering that Connecticut's exports account for more than 200,000 jobs and $7 billion in revenue.

Another area of concern is national defense. Recently, Y2K committee staff attended bilateral discussions between the U.S. Department of Defense and Russian Ministry of Defense on Y2K and military stability. The outcome of these meetings is heartening and will hopefully lead to additional meetings where technical and management expertise can be shared. Discussions have also begun about the creation of a "Center for Year 2000 Strategic Stability," a ballistic early warning information facility which would be used by nuclear powers to detect any Y2K problems and alleviate any confusion about accidental launches.

I believe Connecticut is making a good faith effort to become Y2K compliant. I commend the recent appointment of Major General David Gay of Connecticut's National Guard to lead the state's Year 2000 Readiness Committee, to develop contingency plans for any potential Y2K public health or safety emergencies.

In the ensuing months, the Committee will look more closely at the nation's industries and infrastructure and work closely with international trading partners to ensure that we are ready to face and conquer this problem."

Just passin' it on. . .

-- FM (, April 12, 1999



"In the ensuing months, the Committee will look more closely at the nation's industries and infrastructure and work closely with international trading partners to ensure that we are ready to face and conquer this problem." "

First it was years, now it is months and soon it will be weeks. Lots more committee work to be done, LOOKING, WORKING CLOSELY and ENSURING, this is the work that NEEDS to be done!!


-- Ray (, April 12, 1999.

Actually, we'd better be contingency planning too.

Domestically and internationally.


-- Diane J. Squire (, April 12, 1999.

These guys couldn't find a Y2K problem if it smacked them in the face. That is because they are pretending that everything is A-OK. Want to bet that they already have their spaces booked at an emergency government retreat. I only hope that Bennett and Dodd get to share quarters with that other huge liar Slick Willy.

-- Incredulous (, April 13, 1999.

Diane, my comment was Tongue in Cheek so to speak. You are absolutely correct with regard to CONTINGENCY PLANNING. They MAY be doing it but they are not talking about it.

The TOTAL lack of leadership at the highest levels is APPALLING.


-- Ray (, April 13, 1999.

I'd feel a little better if Dodd's state - Connecticut - wasn't rated as one of the farthest behind. Also, when will the Senate Committee start tracking USPS, as the agency (and I believe the largest federal employer) that could have the biggest impact on business?

-- Brooks (, April 13, 1999.

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