HCFA official: Medicare will be ready for Y2K

A top administrator at the Health Care Financing Administration last week said she is 'relatively optimistic' that the Medicare provider payment systems will be free of Year 2000 computer problems, but medical devices still pose a threat. HCFA administrator NancyAnn DeParle told a joint hearing of

A top administrator at the Health Care Financing Administration last week said she is "relatively optimistic" that the Medicare provider payment systems will be free of Year 2000 computer problems, but medical devices still pose a threat.

HCFA administrator Nancy-Ann DeParle told a joint hearing of the House Health and Environment Subcommittee and the House Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee that Medi-care claims are expected to be paid "promptly and accurately" after Jan. 1, 2000, based on surveys received from participating health care providers.

"Providing quality care goes beyond billing and claims processing," DeParle said. "It depends on doctors, hospitals and other service providers ensuring that their medical equipment will work and their offices remain open. It also depends upon pharmaceutical and medical supply chains continuing to operate uninterrupted."

But Joel Willemssen, director of the Civil Agencies Information Systems office in the Accounting and Information Management division of the General Accounting Office, said he is less optimistic about HCFA's progress in making its payment systems Year 2000-compliant. Willems-sen said HCFA has not been "rigorous enough" in its testing.

"The health care sector has not made adequate progress regarding Y2K," Willemssen said. "HCFA lacks a detailed end-to-end testing plan. I'm more pessimistic. The health care sector is not in good shape" because of potential problems that it is not aware of.

According to HCFA, nearly 100 percent of Medicare Part B claims providers and more than 90 percent of Part A claims providers filed Year 2000-compliant forms last month with eight-digit date fields, with four digits marked for the year field. DeParle said HCFA is working with industry trade groups to bring the compliance rate to 100 percent for Part A and Part B claims.

Willemssen said medical devices such as magnetic resonance imaging systems, X-ray machines, pacemakers and cardiac monitors still appear to be vulnerable to the Year 2000 date change.

"Patient care is important, and that's the side of it we are all concerned about," DeParle said. "I'm dealing with the financing end of it."

Representatives from the Food and Drug Administration and the medical device industry declined to attend the joint hearing, subcommittee members said.

The American Hospital Association (AHA), which represents nearly 5,000 hospitals, health systems, networks and other health care providers, told the subcommittees that 90 percent of hospitals expect their medical devices to be Year 2000-compliant by year's end.

"The majority of the nation's hospitals expect to be completely Y2K-compliant by Jan. 1, 2000, based on the results of a nationally representative survey we conducted," said Ronald Margolis, chief information officer at the University of New Mexico Hospital, who represented AHA at the joint hearing.

AHA supports HCFA's claim that the Medicare provider payment systems will be free of Year 2000 computer glitches before the new millennium.

Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.), who chaired the joint hearing, said he commends the progress that HCFA and the health care industry have made on Year 2000 fixes. But a major test is quickly approaching, Upton warned.

"The critical test that still awaits HCFA and its Medicare contractors will begin this summer, when they will start to retest their systems," Upton said.

"With that in mind, HCFA will need to make sure that contingency plans are comprehensive enough to manage any mission-critical failures that may occur," he added.

NEXT STORY: Popularity Problems

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.