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ACP-ASIM Pressroom

ACP-ASIM Testifies to Urgency of Y2K Readiness Testing for National Medicare Program

September 27, 1999

Time is running out warns College President

(Washington, DC): "Delayed testing by medical practices might lead to a last minute "debugging" demand that could overwhelm available resources," said American College of Physicians-American Society of Internal Medicine President Whitney Addington, MD, FACP in testimony delivered today to the House Subcommittee on Government Management, Information and Technology and the Subcommittee of Technology.

Addington's comments focused on the Medicare program's Year 2000 computer readiness and the need for physicians to test both individual software and computer hardware to ensure the security and compliance of electronic medical files and insurance claims. He expressed concern that too many physicians may be relying on vendor certifications that the vendor's software is Y2K compliant, without requiring testing that all parts of the system are in fact compliant.

"It is imperative that even new systems, as well as those supposedly corrected for Y2K, be tested by experts to confirm the operational success of the corrective measures," Addington said.

Most medical practices constantly rely on computer technology to provide invaluable assistance in the provision of patient care as well as in the administrative aspects of running the medical practice. ACP-ASIM recognizes the threat posed by Y2K and knows that unless internists address this issue, it could disrupt their practice operations and thereby impede delivery of vital health care services to their patients.

The College has implemented an information campaign over the past year through numerous articles in member publications, a Y2K tool kit and a Y2K readiness area of the ACP-ASIM website. Various government and other surveys indicate that a fairly high level of physician awareness now exists regarding Y2K and that most physician practices have undertaken some corrective measures.

"Time is running out, however, for those who have not prepared and the available options are rapidly declining," Addington warned.

ACP-ASIM is the nation's largest medical specialty organization and the second largest physician group. Membership comprises more than 115,000 internal medicine physicians and medical students. Internists are the major providers of medical care to adults in America and treat more Medicare patients than any other medical specialists.

Contacts

Jack E. Pope, ACP-ASIM Washington Office, 202-261-4556

Page updated: 11-04-03

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