GAO expresses doubt in HCFA’s Y2K readiness
Not all internal systems will test before next year
In another chapter of "Yes, it’s ready. No, it’s not," the Government Accounting Office (GAO) in Washington, DC, recently reported that the Health Care Financing Administration (HCFA) in Baltimore has overstated its readiness to handle year 2000 (Y2K) computer problems.
The testimony was delivered to the House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee on Feb. 24. As recounted by the Medical Group Management Association (MGMA) in Englewood, CO, the GAO is concerned that HCFA’s failure could delay both Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement payments to providers and the implementation of the year 2000 scheduled fee updates. In addition, HCFA may experience problems processing provider claims in the first quarter of 2000.
Here are details of the GAO’s concerns:
The independent testing contractor, hired by the government to verify Y2K compliance, has concluded that it will only be able to test eight internal systems, down from the 22 that HCFA previously stated would be independently tested. This independent testing will not be completed until late summer, which is very late to implement system changes or develop contingency plans.
In addition, the GAO reports that HCFA has not established an integrated schedule to track all of the agency’s major internal systems or a formal risk management system. The GAO is concerned that without this integrated schedule, HCFA’s management team will not be able to properly identify important system dependencies and prioritize the remaining work in the limited time before 2000.