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Communities Y2K Unprepared

By Sherman Fridman, Newsbytes. November 15, 1999

Most Communities Unprepared For Y2K - Report 11/11/99 WASHINGTON, D.C., U.S.A., 1999 NOV Just released results of a survey conducted by the Center for Y2K & Society contain stark reminders that a majority of communities across the country, regardless of size, are under- prepared for Y2K.

In an interview with Newsbytes, Norman L. Dean, executive director of the Center, said that some 55 communities in 28 states &emdash; representing a broad cross-section of both size and geographic areas were contacted.

"It's clear there is a great deal that remains to be done, and we're running out of time," Dean said.

The most troubling findings are that less than one-third of the respondents have back-up plans to pay health care providers in the event checks are not mailed from Medicare, Medicaid, or private insurance systems. This in spite of the fact that the Health Care Financing Administration says 22 states are at high to medium risk of Medicaid program failures.

Most sewage treatment plants, telephone companies, and local utilities have not been independently audited; therefore the Center says that it is difficult to determine to what extent these utilities may suffer from Y2K related failures.

Only one-half of the responding communities have backup plans for assuring payment of key benefits such as food stamps, unemployment, and child support, should such systems be delayed.

Less than one-half of the communities studied are ensuring that nursing homes will be Y2K ready in the event of a prolonged disruption. Over 1.6 million Americans presently reside in nursing homes.

One-half of the communities do not know if they will have a 30-day supply of critical medications on New Year's Day in the event there are disruptions in the delivery of pharmaceuticals to the medically-dependent in those communities.

When asked by Newsbytes as to the reasons behind this apparent unreadiness, Dean said that the reasons differ. He felt that some communities believe that there will be no Y2K related problems. In other communities, local government has had trouble getting organized. And, in some communities, there is a lack of responsible conduct on the part of local officials.

In addition to the lack of preparedness for providing assistance to the poor and medically-dependent, Dean told Newsbytes that he was surprised that less than one-half of the respondents had even taken the simple step of sending out written material to their citizens.

The Center for Y2K & Society recommends that individuals prepare for Y2K by: storing extra food and water; having a supply of prescription medicine; have batteries in case of power outages; keep gas tanks at least one-half full; obtain paper copies of medical records; avoid elective surgery just before and just after the New year; and, ensure that elderly or medically-dependent family members will have proper care.

The Center's advice to communities is to contribute to local food banks; participate in local efforts to prepare; encourage local chemical plants to shut down; and, encourage public officials to conduct independent audits of critically important systems such as electric and water utilities as well as the local 911 emergency response system.

Further information can be accessed on the Center's Web site at: .

-- y2k dave (, November 13, 1999


>have gas tanks at least one half full.

What a joke. That is standard in cold climates in January just to keep the gas from freezing in the tank!

I just wish I had one of those old cars with the lock on the gas cap. It could come in very handy in this joyous New Year. :-(

-- cgbg jr (, November 13, 1999.


check an auto parts store, you should be able to buy a locking gas cap. And thanks for the reminder; we forgot to buy ours yet.


-- jhollander (, November 13, 1999.

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