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Lawmakers, others express doubt
Not everyone thinks the health care industry is ready for the big New Year’s party. Some lawmakers and health care experts said recently that they are concerned that doctors, hospitals, and other Medicare health insurance providers are not ready.
Rep. Stephen Horn (R-CA), chairman of the House Government Reform subcommittee monitoring the year 2000 computer issue, issued a statement recently estimating that less than 2% of the 230,000 hospitals, nursing homes, doc - tors, and other health care providers who submit claims to Medicare had tested their computer systems with Medicare contractors.
In a statement before Horn’s panel, Gary Christoph, chief information officer for the Health Care Financing Administration (HCFA), which oversees the Medicare program, said HCFA had fixed its internal computer systems and expects no interruptions in service. "We now see our greatest risk to the program as the uncertainties in the readiness of our partners; namely, our Medicare providers," he told the panel.
Few providers have responded to surveys seeking information about Y2K compliance, he said, leaving many questions about preparations. The readiness of physician practices was questioned by Whitney Addington, MD, president of the American College of Physicians-American Society of Internal Medicine. Many doctors have taken corrective measures, he said, but many have not. He predicted there could be a "last-minute debugging demand that could overwhelm available resources."
Michael Donovan, Hancock, Rothert, Bunshoft; 4 Embarcadero Center, Suite 200, San Francisco, CA 94111.Telephone: (415) 981-5550. E-mail: email@example.com. Web site: 2000law.com.