HHS Identifies State Health Care Programs at 'High Risk' for Y2K Failures

Health care programs in six states and Washington, D.C., remain "high risks" for Year 2000 failures because system fixes and testing are running behind schedule, according to the Administration for Children and Families (ACF), an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Alabama, Delaware, Georgia, Mississippi, New Hampshire, South Carolina and the District of Columbia not only are behind but have "underdeveloped or nonexistent contingency plans" for continuing operations in the event of failure, said John Callahan, chief information officer at HHS, testifying on Wednesday before a joint hearing of the House Government Management, Information and Technology Subcommittee and the Technology Subcommittee.

The ACF supports five programs administered at the state, county and local levels: Child Welfare, Child Support Enforcement, Child Care, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families and Low-Income House Energy Assistance.

ACF is working with systems integrator Electronic Data Systems Corp. to provide on-site technical assistance to states where help is needed and will provide specific feedback to states regarding technical matters and individual Business Continuity and Contingency Plans, which many states also lack, Callahan said.

Additionally, Callahan said, the Health Care Financing Administration has found one or more of the Medicaid and Children's Health Insurance Program systems are at high risk in eight locations: Alabama, Alaska, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Mexico and North Carolina, as well as Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

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