The University Record, June 25, 1997

Some benefits cuts postponed; Health System staff to get M-$hare

By Jane R. Elgass

University of Michigan Health System employees were notified June 12 that they may be receiving bonuses through the M-$hare program and that anticipated changes in some benefits that were scheduled to be effective January 1998 are being postponed.

The proposed benefits changes were part of a three-year plan to trim $200 million from the Health System's nearly $1 billion budget. That overall plan is still in effect.

In an e-mail message sent to 8,000 employees, Larry Warren, interim executive director of the Hospitals, cited activities undertaken by staff members to meet the Health System's mission of putting patients and families first.

"While your efforts and sacrifices have contributed greatly to that goal and our overall success, they may soon show up in a more tangible way: For the first time in three years, we anticipate an M-$hare payment as a result of this year's operating performance. While this may seem like a contradiction given our continued expense reduction efforts, the M-$hare program is the fulfillment of our commitment to employees for their participation and hard work. By the actions we have taken to control our expenses, that gain will be shared with employees this fall."

M-$hare is the Hospitals' and clinics' gain-sharing program. When actual budget results exceed budget expectations, one-half of that amount is shared with eligible employees.

Recommendations made by the Health System Benefits Redesign Committee will not be put into effect this year.

In addition, Warren said that the Health System plans to offer retirement incentive and early retirement programs "to help further reduce costs in a less painful way."