Thursday, January 29, 2015

Did You Know? Under HIPAA, Your Medical Records Are Protected from Unauthorized Access (Even from You)

HIPAA has done a great deal of good to protect sensitive patient information. All the same, some members describe the advantages of the time before HIPAA, when patient information could come in handy, and be used for personal reasons. You might want to look up your own appointment time with a doctor, for example, or to figure out a co-worker's home address in order to send a birthday card. However, things are different now.

Sometimes, when SHARE members violate a hospital policy, they don't even think they've done so. While working to take care of themselves and their family, they might access protected information. SHARE members might not realize that their computer activity can be revealed in a routine system audit, and that unauthorized access can result in serious disciplinary action.

Most employees know that HIPAA guidelines permit an employee to access a patient's record only in one of two situations:
  1. For job-related reasons. Or, 
  2. If the employee submits a completed Employee Authorization for Electronic Access Form, which is filed with the Medical Records department. 
But, what about your husband's medical records? Or your children's? Or even your own? It's important to remember that the answer is: the same rules apply.

For example, even if you want to find out the results of your very own lab work, you must be authorized to do so through the Medical Records department, or contact your physician directly.

For more information, visit The US Department of Health and Human Services' "Understanding HIPAA" webpage 

Or, please feel free to call the SHARE office (508) 929-4020, or the UMass Memorial Privacy Office: (508) 334-5551

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

2015 SHARE Dues

SHARE weekly dues will increase in January 2015:
  • For full-time employees the new rate will be $8.39/week. (The 2014 rate was $8.24)
  • For employees budgeted for 20 hours/week, the new rate will be prorated at $6.29/paycheck. (The 2014 rate was $6.18)
The dues rates are set by our parent union, AFSCME (Ameircan Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees), every year. If there's a rate change it happens in January and the new rate is based on the average salary raise that all 1.5 million members across the country got in the previous year. 

Where do the dues go?

Most of the dues pay for SHARE staff, the office rent, office supplies, mailings, etc. The money supports the work of the union here at the Medical School (and in our sister unions at UMass Memorial, Harvard University, and the Cambridge Health Alliance) helping members with issues at work, building connections across the campuses, supporting people who have been laid off, distributing information about issues of importance to SHARE members, negotiating contracts, etc. 

The remaining portion of the dues goes to the national union in Washington -- they spend that money on advocating for AFSCME members as a whole, including research and lobbying about issues. (Support for political candidates comes from AFSCME's Political Action Committee, not from dues money.) 


If you have any questions about the 2015 dues rates, please contact the SHARE office at: