House panel wants info about Y2K and health care

Democratic and Republican leaders on the House Commerce Committee Wednesday asked the General Accounting Office to look into preparations the health care provider community is making for dealing with potential Y2K problems.

At a hearing Tuesday, several witnesses said that while the government is making good progress in readying its computer systems, many providers remain dangerously unprepared for problems with patient care or medical equipment.

"In the course of our review of the Medicare provider community, the committee has become increasingly concerned about the continuity of health care service at the turn of the century," said the letter from Commerce Chairman Thomas Bliley, R-Va., ranking member John Dingell, D-Mich., and others.

The members asked GAO to examine efforts by the Health Care Financing Administration to educate providers about Y2K issues, to survey the provider community about its progress, and to review whether surveys done to date are reliable.

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