Y2K and Health care Press Release

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December 17, 1999

Contact: Ellen Gordon
Iowa Emergency Management Division
Hoover State Office Building
Des Moines, Iowa 50319
(515) 281-3231

Des Moines, Iowa  The following is next in a series of press releases to inform the public of Iowa state government readiness and consumer information as it relates to any possible Y2K issues on health and medical issues.

This fall, the Iowa Emergency Management Division conducted a survey of nearly 1,000 health care facilities in the state of Iowa, all of which are licensed and/or regulated by the Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals. These facilities included hospitals, nursing facilities, residential care facilities and facilities for mentally retarded and persons with mental illness. The survey indicates that the overwhelming majority of Iowas health care facilities are ready for Y2K, and are ready for other winter and weather related emergencies as well. Further details from this survey can be found on the Iowa Emergency Managements Website at http://www.state.ia.us/emergencymanagement/y2k.htm

In health care, making sure that computers are ready for the Year 2000 is an important priority. Most hospitals, doctors offices, health clinics, and long-term care facilities have been working together to identify and solve potential date change problems.

The vast majority of medical devices, which were once thought to be particularly vulnerable to Y2K problems, do not have date change issues that could directly affect patient care. However, health care facilities have been focused on identifying devices that have date change problems and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration have been encouraging manufacturers to provide information on their products. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, there should not be any instances of a device that would present a serious risk to health for which the manufacturer has not either developed and made available an upgrade to correct the problem, or declared the device obsolete and so advised users. Medical devices and equipment used in home health care are not likely to experience Y2K problems that will affect their safe operation. It is a good idea, however, to contact each items manufacturer to make sure that it will function properly in Year 2000 and beyond.

It is always a good idea to refill prescription medications when you have a five- to seven-day supply remaining. The pharmaceutical and health care industries are confident based on experience and the 90-day supply of finished product which is always in the supply system, that following this standard practice is all that is needed for Y2K.

If you have concerns over your medical service, prescriptions, or medical devices, please ask your doctor or local health care facility about their readiness for the Year 2000.

-- y2k dave (xsdaa111@hotmail.com), December 20, 1999


I had read a few months back that Japan, unlike the FDA, had found a number of medical devices that failed y2k testing, one of which was specific x-ray machines that will crank out dangerous levels of radiation despite the dial setting.

Anyone have word on recent results on foreign findings of med equip?

-- Hokie (nn@va.com), December 20, 1999.

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