Five-Tidbit Friday: December 11, 2015


It looks like we’re doing a decent job washing our hands. Under guidelines in effect for the past two years as part of the Affordable Care Act, the UMass Memorial Hospital campuses have fared well. Congratulations to SHARE members for their work in helping keep patients safe and saving our hospital money.

Based on the numbers from 2015, reports that, “758 hospitals . . . will see their Medicare payments reduced by 1% for ranking in the bottom quartile.” Due to its performance, UMass Memorial will avoid this penalty. For a full list of hospital scores nationally, see the Medicare HAC Reduction Program website.

This success builds on a positive national trend; according to Healthcare Finance News, “From 2010 to 2014, there’s been 2.1 million fewer hospital-acquired conditions and $19.8 billion in costs have been averted.” We look forward to making those numbers trend further in the right direction.


Occasionally the SHARE staff receives questions about union offers and catalogs that are mailed directly to your homes. These mailings come automatically from SHARE’s parent union, AFSCME, and so SHARE doesn't have much more information about them. One particular offer that has come through recently is called “AFSCME Advantage,” which allows users to shop and then pay for items directly from their paychecks over the course of a year. Unlike credit card purchases, these purchases involve no interest and no fees. You can find more details about this program here


The AFSCME Advantage program registration requires applicants to include their AFSCME Member ID number. While the SHARE office receives no record of your AFSCME ID, you can find that number on the address label of any mailing sent to your home from AFSCME. It looks something like this:


Legislators have proposed a two-year delay on the implementation of the healthcare “Cadillac Tax” provisions under the Affordable Care Act. Employers, including UMass Memorial, have been preparing to have to deal with the "cadillac tax" if and when it gets implemented.

The Cadillac Tax is currently slated to go into effect in 2018, and would require employers to pay a 40% tax on the value of any healthcare coverage that exceeds $10,200 for single coverage or $27,500 for families in premium costs starting in 2018.

The Wall Street Journal explains that, “A delay would punt the fate of the tax . . . to the next president, who is likely to be more open to striking it down. Republican presidential candidates have supported a repeal, as has Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton.” According to, “If the tax is repealed or indefinitely delayed, the government will lose the estimated $91 billion in revenue the tax would bring during the next decade.”


Another program that might be helpful to you during holiday shopping is Union Plus, which is administered by the AFL-CIO non-profit called Union Privilege. The program is designed to use “collective negotiating strength of more than 13 million union member to negotiate solid values for consumers available from nationally known providers.” This provides discounts on items and services ranging from entertainment to heating oil. For a full list of features available to SHARE members, click here.

See you here next Friday. Hope you have a very decent weekend . . .