Year 2000 Computing Crisis: Status of Medicare Providers Unknown

AIMD-99-243 Published: Jul 28, 1999. Publicly Released: Aug 06, 1999.
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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the: (1) Health Care Financing Administration's (HCFA) outreach and testing efforts for ensuring that Medicare providers will be year 2000 compliant; and (2) surveys that have been completed to date or planned on the year 2000 status of healthcare providers.

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Recommendations for Executive Action

Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Health Care Financing Administration In order to reduce the risk of year 2000-related failures of the Medicare provider community and ensure that the public has adequate information about what is being done to reduce the risk of such failures, HCFA should: (1) continue to solicit suggestions from healthcare provider trade associations on how to increase participation in outreach activities; (2) consider using additional outreach methods, such as public service announcements; (3) consider conducting end-to-end tests with providers and Medicare contractors on a sample basis, if time permits; (4) set milestones for Medicare contractors to test with providers; and (5) continue to publicize the results of all contractor/provider testing on HCFA's web site.
Closed - Implemented
HCFA established a provider outreach team and conducted outreach activities. It conducted testing with contractors and set a goal for contractor testing with providers/submitters. A substantial percentage of providers/submitters, representing about half of HCFA's overall claims volume, were tested. HCFA also posted some results of contractor/provider testing on its website.
Healthcare Sector Working Group The healthcare sector working group of the President's Council on Year 2000 Conversion should: (1) develop a template to ensure that future surveys include critical questions on testing and contingency planning and to ensure that assessments are categorized into areas such as billing/medical record systems, biomedical devices, and infrastructure; and (2) consider working with associations to publicize those providers who respond to future surveys in order to increase survey response rates.
Closed - Implemented
The Healthcare Sector Working Group did continue to encourage associations to survey and conduct other outreach with the medical provider community. However it did not develop a template.

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