News Media Challenged to Reduce Y2K Dangers for Chronically Ill : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

WASHINGTON, Nov. 8 /U.S. Newswire/ -- With less than two months remaining before the nation's computer-based systems must make the transition to the 21st century, a national patient advocate is asking news organizations, doctors, community leaders and patients themselves to help safeguard a particularly vulnerable population from potentially life-threatening Y2K problems that may arise.

The lives of an estimated 55 million Americans depend on regular -- often daily, frequently continuous -- medication and/or treatment, according to National Patient Advocate Laurene West, and significant effort has gone into ensuring that systems delivering this medication and treatment will not be disrupted by Y2K-related computer problems. Still, West is concerned that patients and health care providers may be tempted to stockpile prescription medications and, in so doing, create shortages that could prevent others from receiving their normal supplies or dosages.

Because such stockpiling would be the result of misinformation or lack of information on the expected availability of medications during the Y2K transition, West is calling for a broad-based effort to ensure that the correct information reaches all involved.

In a November 5 letter, West asked several hundred newspaper, radio and TV health editors to examine how patients in their areas are getting information on the availability of medication and treatment during the Y2K transition, and what they are being told about contingency plans in the event of Y2K problems affecting health care delivery.

-- kevin (, November 08, 1999

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