Year 2000 Computing Crisis:

Readiness of State Automated Systems That Support Federal Human Services Programs

T-AIMD-99-91: Published: Feb 24, 1999. Publicly Released: Feb 24, 1999.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO discussed the year 2000 status of states' automated systems that support federal human services programs, such as Medicaid, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), and Food Stamps.

GAO noted that: (1) GAO's survey last year of states' year 2000 status found that many systems were at risk and much work remained to ensure continued services; (2) overall, only about one-third of the systems supporting human services programs were reported to be compliant; (3) since GAO's report last year, federal guidance and oversight activities for state human services systems have increased; (4) since last summer, the Health Care Financing Administration (HCFA) has administered two state self-reported surveys and conducted several on-site visits and found that overall state Medicaid systems status has improved little; (5) while Office of Management and Budget (OMB) guidelines target completion of systems renovation by September 1998, states' self-reported data to HCFA showed that about 90 percent of states had not completed renovation for Medicaid programs as of November 1998; (6) HCFA reported in the Department of Health and Human Services' (HHS) February 1999 quarterly report to OMB that based on seven site visits, some of the dates' states had reported to GAO in July/August 1998 had already slipped, underscoring the need for on-site visits to secure more accurate information; (7) thus, HCFA and its independent verification and validation contractor plan to make on-site visits to all 50 states and the District of Columbia by the end of this April; (8) the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) is currently surveying the states to determine the status of TANF, child support enforcement, child care, and child welfare systems, however, it does not have current information on states' systems; (9) in response to OMB's requirement to provide updated state systems status in the quarterly year 2000 progress reports, ACF sent letters and surveys to state Chief Information Officers asking for such information and asked the states to return the survey by January 31, 1999; (10) as of February 16, 1999, ACF had received responses from 27 states; (11) the Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Food and Nutrition Service is tracking and reporting on year 2000 progress for the Food Stamp and Special Supplemental Food Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) programs for all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands; and (12) for both programs, USDA initiated a survey in April 1998, asking states when their hardware, software, and the telecommunications supporting automated Food Stamp and WIC systems would be compliant.

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