Friday, September 21, 2007

History of Computing Culture 103: Bradford and New York State MMIS (finally on IBM), 1977


What followed NBC was a migration to IBM. Since there were only six or seven Univac installations in New York City in the mid to late 1970s, if someone had a mainframe IBM background he or she could become much more marketable. So I managed to get an interview with Bradford National Corporation when it had to staff up suddenly after getting a contract for New York State Medicaid Management Information System (in 1977). On May 31, 1977 I started there at 100 Church Street in lower Manhattan (a building that would be slightly affected on 9/11). I remember riding down from the headquarters at 1700 Broadway and being told that we were “consultants.”

Bradford National Corporation would eventually be bought by McDonnell-Douglas in the 1980s.

In those days, you wrote program specs in handwriting and gave them to a typing pool. We had a terminal row or “tube city” and used Roscoe procs to compile programs. I worked on the back end, or MARS (“Management and Administrative Reporting”). The system consisted of an extract from the claims detail, sorts of the extracts in various sequences or “legs” and then the reports. New York State auditors came down to analyze the system tests, with the most sensitive reports being those on nursing homes, since SNF’s had more federal reimbursement that (custodial) ICF’s. All the files were tape, and the end of month reports with 1978 technology took extremely long to run. But the operating system was already MVS, with all programming in COBOL.

I had nineteen months MMIS experience. In 2002 and 2003 recruiters started calling programmers with MMIS experience, but most jobs required two-five years MMIS experience. It must have changed a lot since then.

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