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Y2K Utah Senator Plans to Be Prepared By Stephen Barr
Tuesday, June 1, 1999; Page A13
The latest buzz on the Year 2000 computer glitch centers on how to make personal preparations for Jan. 1. Sen. Robert F. Bennett (R-Utah) has provided a new Y2K Leading Indicator: He plans to stockpile water in a 55-gallon drum at his Salt Lake City home--just to be on the safe side.
Bennett disclosed his personal plan while chairing a recent Senate hearing on community preparedness. For community groups and others worried about Y2K, the senator's statements serve as something of a barometer on the evolving dimensions of the so-called millennium bug.
In the past, Bennett indicated that he was following a more modest strategy, focused on a few extra cans of food, flashlights and batteries--what most prudent Americans should have around the house on long winter weekends.
The Utah senator also advocates keeping paper copies of financial records, such as bank statements, credit card receipts, retirement accounts and loan documents, to protect against billing or accounting errors.
He has urged Americans to talk with their local officials about Y2K readiness in their communities. "Everyone needs to be able to prepare based on information they've gathered about their own community's Y2K preparedness," said Bennett spokesman Don Meyer.
Concerns at Local Level
The tricky part for many government officials is how to promote preparedness without causing panic. Federal officials believe vital government services and the national infrastructure--electric power and telephones--will hold when computers make the transition to "00."
But they remain uncertain about what will happen in towns and cities across the country. "The greatest domestic risk for Y2K-related failures is at the local level," said John A. Koskinen, President Clinton's Y2K coordinator.
Koskinen, who chairs the President's Council on Year 2000 Conversion, fears that too many communities have not paid adequate attention to the problem or have shown "a great reluctance" to share Y2K information with their citizens.
To get a dialogue started, the White House council plans to promote "Y2K Community Conversations" this summer, starting in Hartford, Green Bay, Wis., the Hampton Roads region of Virginia and other areas.
"The goal of the campaign is not to be cheerleaders or to present a false picture of security," Koskinen said. The idea, he said, is to discuss "what the risks are and what preparations are appropriate for each community."
Sen. Christopher J. Dodd (D-Conn.), Bennett's partner on the Senate Special Committee on the Year 2000 Technology Problem, fears con artists will use Y2K as a way to lure people into fraudulent investment schemes or trick people into disclosing bank account numbers.
Although only a few cases have been reported, Y2K scams usually involve a con artist calling potential victims and asking for a credit card number or bank account information, claiming the information is needed to aid Y2K compliance work or to protect the victim's bank account from a computer malfunction.
Last week, Dodd sent letters to federal regulatory and law enforcement agencies urging them to warn consumers about Y2K scams. "While we know that some computer systems will be affected by the Y2K bug, sadly the one thing we know won't stop is scam artists looking to make a quick buck," Dodd said.
A survey of private health care companies that hold Medicare managed-care contracts found that only 22 percent of them are ready for Y2K. But nearly two-thirds of those not ready reported that all of their computer systems would be fixed by Dec. 31.
The survey was conducted by the inspector general of the Health and Human Services Department during January and February.
Managed-care companies, typically health maintenance organizations, appear especially vulnerable to the Year 2000 problem because of the variety of computer business systems they operate. The Y2K problem stems from the use of two-digit date fields in many systems, leading experts to worry that computers will incorrectly interpret "00" not as 2000 but as 1900 when the calendar changes, producing errors or other electronic malfunctions.
The IG survey found that 68 percent of the Medicare managed-care contractors reported that they were unsure of the Y2K readiness of the doctors, hospitals, home health agencies and other providers in their health care networks.
"The results of this survey are troubling," said Nancy-Ann Min DeParle, who heads the federal agency in charge of Medicare, in a letter accompanying the IG report.
This summer, DeParle will send independent consultants to managed-care companies to assess their Y2K readiness, aides said.
) Copyright 1999 The Washington Post Company
-- country boy (I Can Skin A@Buck.com), June 01, 1999
"But they remain uncertain about what will happen in towns and cities across the country."
And then there's Medicare.
(Shakes head and sighs).
-- Diane J. Squire (email@example.com), June 01, 1999.
Here's the link: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/WPcap/1999-06/01/057r-060199-idx. html
-- Cheryl (Transplant@Oregon.com), June 01, 1999.
Medicare, Medicaid, and the current medical system As We Know It are going bye-bye.
-- Ashton & Leska in Cascadia (firstname.lastname@example.org), June 01, 1999.
tens of thousands of therapists working in nursing homes have been layed off as a result of changes in medicare billing,what will our old people do?
-- Johnny (JLJTM@BELLSOUTH.NET), June 01, 1999.
That PR show that was televised was truly an embrassment to the people that know what is likely to be instore for the clueless. I felt terrible for Ed, Paloma, Liza and the others that are trying so hard to prepare this moronic country.
Dodd was late for the session and practiced good CYA when the topic of the formation of the committee came up. I have heard about all the good efforts of this committee and all the awareness it's engendered on this forum and elsewhere. Poppycock. There is only one reason they set this thing up: quill panic. All talk no action as all of these have been.
was one tottingfestivit The e the ln
-- PJC (email@example.com), June 01, 1999.
"Utah Senator Plans to Be Prepared"
-- Linkmeister (firstname.lastname@example.org), June 01, 1999.
"The difficult problem with this challenge is that it IS a moving target. Ive had the experience of having my old speeches quoted back to me, and saying, How can you say this is where we are, when six months ago you said. . . And I said, Because six months ago that was true, and what Im saying now is true.
Unfortunately, many people get disappointed when you tell them things are going well. They kind of want this to be the end of the world as we know it. And when you say, Hey, as a result of what weve been pushing for and doing, weve made some progress, they dont want to hear that." -- Senetor Bennet
-- Just (email@example.com'am), June 01, 1999.
HEY JUST THE FACTS I don't get it he just said this LAST WEEK after the hearing. What do you mean by what you quoted?
-- Johnny (JLJTM@BELLSOUTH.NET), June 01, 1999.
Is this current enough?
The latest Senate comments...
"Community Y2K Preparedness: Is There News They Can Use?"
May 25, 1999
Senator Robert F. Bennett, Chairman
Special Senate Committee on the Year 2000 Technology Problem
May 25, 1999
Awareness of the Y2K problem is now widespread and implementation of solutions is well underway. While there is still time to reduce Y2K-related disruptions, we must engage in contingency planning -- under the assumption that Y2K-related disruptions will, in some cases, upset the daily lives of some communities. This hearing takes the logical step toward considering how people should prepare for the new millennium in case some Y2K problems remain unsolved at the turn of the century.
Be prepared. That's one of the first lessons we learn in life. This admonition has caused most of us to take steps against a range of unexpected events.
Most of us carry insurance policies in case the house burns down or we crash the car. No one questions the wisdom of preparing for these unpredictable events, because they have the potential to disrupt our lives. Although we know it's coming, Y2K is another unpredictable event that may have life-altering consequences. Some of our witnesses today have engaged their neighbors and entire communities in this effort to prepare. They recognize that safe and prosperous communities exist because their residents cooperate to make them work.
Like fires, floods, storms and traffic accidents, Y2K requires an insurance policy against its unforeseen consequences. That insurance policy comes in the form of reasonable preparation, with the emphasis on reasonable. I am not a doomsayer: Y2K will not be the end of the world as we know it -- or TEOTWAWKI, as the web sites call it. Thousands of people are working hard to solve the Y2K problem, and enormous progress has been made. On the other hand, I am not a Pollyanna: I cannot say that everything will be fine.
Where industries and government agencies have been less than candid, we have taken every measure to extract the necessary information to satisfy the public's right to know. Despite this, there remains some dissatisfaction with the information provided by the government and other sources. The reason for this dissatisfaction is valid -- not because information is being withheld, but because no one knows exactly what will happen on January 1, 2000.
While I am optimistic about domestic preparedness as a whole, there will almost certainly be isolated disruptions. Unfortunately, I cannot tell you where these disruptions will be. No one can. The information either doesn't exist, or cannot be gathered in a uniform and cohesive manner.
That's why it's so important to take charge of your own Y2K situation, and to do it in a responsible way.
The media knows Y2K is coming, but no one can predict its effects, severity, or exactly who will be affected. As a result, we know we should prepare, but we don't know to what extent we should prepare.
I don't think the media should cover Y2K as they would the approach of an asteroid on a collision course with Earth--the two are not analogous. Nor do I think the media should dismiss the problem as a hoax or marketing strategy by unscrupulous software developers--that is simply untrue. Instead, responsible media coverage of Y2K probably lies somewhere between these two extremes, and there are many examples where this has been the case.
Responsible, fair and accurate coverage of Y2K is a challenge even for the most experienced journalists.
Covering Y2K is difficult because it is unique. There is no obvious frame of reference for gathering Y2K information.
But a new medium has emerged that has the same power to reach people as the traditional press, but with fewer checks and balances. The Internet, with 90 million American users, has become a volatile echo chamber for rumors and disinformation about Y2K, as well as a source of information for the mainstream press. Unfortunately, in this electronic news ether, it is often impossible to distinguish between myth and fact. Some organizations are striving for responsibility and reliability of information on the edge of America's cyber-frontier. We have the CEO one of those organizations with us today, and I look forward to his testimony. Between the "wild west" of the Internet and the traditional news gathering role of newspapers, TV and radio, we need to find a way to get people news they can use about Y2K.
-- Diane J. Squire (firstname.lastname@example.org), June 01, 1999.
"I am not a doomsayer: Y2K will not be the end of the world as we know it -- or TEOTWAWKI, as the web sites call it. Thousands of people are working hard to solve the Y2K problem, and enormous progress has been made." - senneto Bennet
-- Just (email@example.com'am), June 02, 1999.
Cat got your tongue?
-- Johnny (JLJTM@BELLSOUTH.NET), June 02, 1999.