Year 2000 Computing CrisisKey Actions Remain to Ensure Delivery of Veterans Benefits and Health Services Gao ID: T-AIMD-99-152 April 20, 1999
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) continues to make progress in readying its automated systems for the Year 2000, but key steps remain. For example, the Veterans Benefits Administration and the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) have yet to complete testing of their mission-critical systems, and VHA has not finished assessing its facility systems, which are essential to ensuring continuing health care. In addition, neither VA nor the Food and Drug Administration have implemented GAO's recommendation that they review the test results of biomedical equipment used for critical care and life support. VHA's pharmaceutical operations are at risk because the automated systems supporting its consolidated mail outpatient pharmacies are not Year 2000 compliant. Lastly, VHA does not know whether its medical facilities will have enough pharmaceutical and medical-surgical supplies on hand because it lacks complete information on the Year 2000 readiness of these manufacturers. VA must address these issues if it is to continue to reliably deliver benefits and health care to veterans.
GAO noted that: (1) VA continues to make progress in its year 2000 readiness; (2) however, key actions remain to be performed; (3) for example, the Veterans Benefits Administration and Veterans Health Administration (VHA) have not yet completed testing of their mission-critical systems to ensure that these systems can reliably accept future dates--such as January 1, 2000; (4) also, VHA has not completed year 2000 assessments of its facility systems, which can be essential to ensuring continuing health care; (5) in addition, neither VA nor FDA had implemented GAO's prior recommendation to review the test results for biomedical equipment used in critical care/life support environments; (6) further, VHA's pharmaceutical operations are at risk because the automated systems supporting its consolidated mail outpatient pharmacies are not year 2000 compliant; (7) VHA does not know if its medical facilities will have a sufficient supply of pharmaceutical and medical-surgical products on hand because it does not have complete information on the year 2000 readiness of these manufacturers; and (8) it is critical that these concerns be addressed if VA is to continue reliably delivering benefits and health care.