Year 2000 Computing Challenge:

HCFA Action Needed to Address Remaining Medicare Issues

T-AIMD-99-299: Published: Sep 27, 1999. Publicly Released: Sep 27, 1999.

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Joel C. Willemssen
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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO discussed the Health Care Financing Administration's (HCFA) progress in addressing its year 2000 computing challenges.

GAO noted that: (1) HCFA and its contractors have made progress in addressing Medicare year 2000 issues; (2) however, until HCFA completes the ongoing recertification tests, the final status of the agency's year 2000 compliance will remain unknown; (3) limited time remains to completely test all systems that process Medicare claims for year 2000 compliance (internal, fee-for-service contractor, managed care organization (MCO), and provider); (4) nevertheless, HCFA must sustain its efforts, because any progress made in testing these many systems lowers the risk of disruptions to Medicare and the claims payment process; (5) HCFA must also continue to closely monitor contractor testing with providers that to date has been limited but has uncovered year 2000 problems; (6) in addition, HCFA needs to continue its efforts to ensure that MCOs are adequately addressing their year 2000 challenges; and (7) given the considerable amount of work that remains in the next few months, it is crucial that the development and testing of internal, contractor, and MCO business continuity and contingency plans move forward rapidly to ensure that, no matter what, providers will be paid and beneficiaries will receive care.

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