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Protect Yourself This Tax Season

Filing a tax return has never been easier since the introduction of e-filing. Yet, with this convenience, tax payers are more vulnerable to tax scams and identity theft. According to the IRS, identity theft is one of the fastest growing crimes nationwide and refund fraud caused by identity theft is one of the biggest challenges facing the agency. Christie Polley, EMHS' system director of IS Information Security, leads EMHS’ cybersecurity awareness campaign, Stop.Think.Connect.™, a national campaign launched by the Department of Homeland Security. She shares, “As part of EMHS' work to educate employees about cybersecurity threats in the work place, we also want to provide tricks, tips, and tools to help protect employees and their families at home.”
 

By following these tips, you can minimize your vulnerability to tax refund fraud:
 
  • File early. The best way to avoid tax scams is to file early. By doing so, you will head off the criminal before he or she can use your SSN to file, leaving the IRS to reject any subsequent, fraudulent returns.
 
  • Guard your social security number. Only provide your SSN if you are confident in the tax preparer (human or electronic) you are using. In general practice, always ask why a business needs your SSN before you provide it. Unless it’s absolutely required, do not provide this information.
 
  • Monitor your credit report. The IRS recommends checking your credit report every 12 months. Businesses such as www.annualcreditreport.com offer free annual reports to consumers, which allow you to monitor your credit history and current activity.
 
  • Protect your computer. Create strong passwords and keep anti-virus and anti-spam software up to date.
 
  • Be phish-aware. The IRS does NOT request personal or financial information via any electronic means. If you receive an “IRS email" asking for such information, do not respond. You can report it by forwarding the email to Phishing@irs.gov.
 
  • Secure physical files. Store any paperwork that has your personal information on it in a secure location. Shred all documents you no longer need.
 
  • Choose wisely. Use reputable tax preparers, online e-filing programs, or tax preparation software. Not sure where to start? Do your homework first by researching various companies online to compare important attributes like online security, convenience or ease of use, and cost. To learn about your e-filing options, visit the IRS website for more information.



If you believe you have been a victim of identity theft and need to secure your refund, contact the IRS Identity Protection Specialized Unit at 800-908-4490 right away.

Look for more cybersecurity tips in your inbox in 2017 or visit the EMHS Cybersecurity Awareness Portal for more information on cybersecurity.

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Beacon Health Employees Give a Little More

In December 2016, local families received some holiday cheer complements of Beacon Health employees. This past Christmas, rather than exchanging gifts in a Yankee Swap, the nearly 90 employees of Beacon Health decided to adopt two families in the Bangor region. Collectively, six children and four adults opened up everything from slippers and books to shoes, toys, and gift cards. The employees of Beacon Health are thrilled to know they are making a difference and sharing the spirit of the season with those in the community who need a little extra.
 
Photo of Beacon Health employees with gifts
Pictured here are a few of the Beacon Health “elves” with some of the many Christmas gifts collected for two adopted families in the Bangor region. From left to right: Karen Eldridge, administrative assistant III; Holly Warman, executive assistant; and Sue Manson, administrative assistant III.
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Value-tine's Day Fifth Anniversary

Are there people in your EMHS family who deserve a thank you for something big or small? Now is a great time for you to tell them in a special way. This year marks the fifth anniversary of EMHS’ Value-tine's Day, an event created to recognize and celebrate our caring, thoughtful, and hard-working coworkers.

The goal of Value-tine's Day is to foster appreciation of Home Office employees who exemplify our values through their work. We encourage employees to thank their peers by using specially created Value-tine cards, which are the traditional EMHS “Thank You” cards, with a twist.

How it works:

Beginning January 16 through February 6, look for the red Value-tine's Day boxes stocked with “Thank You” cards and special red envelopes for the occasion, which will be placed in common areas at your office location. Simply fill out one or several notes of appreciation, address the envelope, and place it back into the red box for delivery. We welcome creativity—if you’d like, add personal touches like fastening candy treats or small trinkets to your cards, as we’ve seen in past years. The Values Team will then collect and sort the cards, and deliver them to the recipients’ supervisors. Supervisors will then be asked to hand deliver cards to their staff on February 14, Value-tine's Day.

For more information or ways to get involved at your Home Office location, please contact Sue Cullen or E.J. Hikel.

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Home Office Winter Safety Tips

The rhythmic hum of the neighbor’s lawnmower seems like such a distant a memory—especially after our first official Nor’easter blanketed the state with white, powdery snow. As Mainers, we except the cycle of the seasons and don’t let winter weather get in the way of fun or work, but it does require some extra precaution. Therefore, we wanted to take a moment to share some safety tips to prevent injuries from slips, trips, and falls: 
 
  • Leave yourself extra time to commute to and from work—be prepared for traffic delays
 
  • Step down, not out, from your vehicle with both feet planted firmly on the ground before exiting
 
  • Carry only what you can when walking outside: If you have a lot of items to bring into the office, consider using a backpack, which frees your arms and hands while centering the weight of your belongings
 
  • Do not use your cellphone while walking, which can distract you from your surroundings
 
  • Wear appropriate footwear on your way into and out of work and change into office footwear once you arrive inside
 
  • Bending your knees a little and taking slower, shorter steps increases traction and can greatly reduce your chances of falling—it also helps to stop occasionally to break momentum
 
  • When entering a building, remove as much snow and water from your boots as you can. Take notice that floors and stairs may be wet and slippery—walk carefully

With these tips, we wish you a happy and safe winter season. Please report any slippery walkways and areas of the parking lots to Facilities dispatch at 973-7778.
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EMHS Mentor Program Update

Where can you be introduced to many facets of healthcare from management and team building to strategic planning and budgeting? How do you tap into the wisdom of someone who has walked the path before you? The new EMHS Mentor Program is certainly one way. This program is part of EMHS’ commitment to help you succeed by nurturing your career aspirations.

“This year’s November application period was met with a flood of submissions. Thirty-seven mentees and thirty-seven mentors were accepted into the program’s first official cohort—the enthusiasm for this program is undeniable,” reflects Danielle Abbott, EMHS Talent and Diversity specialist and program co-coordinator. Participants will gather at a kick-off event on February 1 where the group will discuss program expectations and participants’ goals for the coming year. Mentors and mentees will take part in “speed matching” at this first meeting, which allows these potential partners to get to know each other better in a short amount of time. Participants will also complete a questionnaire that will give program coordinators—also playing the role of matchmaker—insight into connections made during “speed matching,” learning style, participants’ areas of interest, and more.

In the next year, mentees will have several opportunities to meet with their mentors to discuss topics of interest in addition to learning from one another within the larger group. According to Danielle, mentors will also gain much from the program. “They will be our teachers, help shape our program content, and all the while strengthen skills in team building, staff development, and leadership. This program can also provide an opportunity for our mentors to see their own work from a fresh perspective of a mentee. Mentorship is absolutely a two-way street.”

This year’s cohort is representative of several member organizations, clinical and non-clinical positions, and years of service within EMHS. Danielle adds, “This is a program to help employees in all areas of professional development beyond enhancing your skill set for your current role. We are excited to foster meaningful connections across the system to make our organization even stronger!”

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Welcome Tim Dentry, EMHS’ New Chief Operating Officer

Timothy (Tim) Dentry joined the Home Office leadership team December 19 as senior vice president and chief operating officer (COO) of EMHS. Tim, now a transplanted “Mainer,” recognizes it’s only appropriate to use a nautical metaphor to describe his new role, “A large part of my job is to help make sure the fleet is doing well and traveling in the same direction.” COO is a new position at the Home Office and will play a role in all operational aspects of our system. Tim adds, “The COO helps the system reach its goals and objectives in terms of high quality patient care, being a place where people like to work, and achieving good financial health, to name a few.” Tim is accountable for the administrative direction, assessment, and coordination of our member organizations, ensuring that system operations are in alignment with EMHS’ overall goals, objectives, and values.

The COO works in partnership with a wide breadth of disciplines across EMHS members. Tim is looking forward to learning from employees throughout the system about our hospitals, patients, and communities. It is evident within minutes of speaking with Tim, he is energized and passionate about his work. His knack for uniting people, building strong teams and achieving optimal results will only advance a system culture that embraces innovation, process improvement, collaboration, and shared accountability.

Tim holds a master’s degree in Business Administration and a bachelor of science in Medical Technology, both from Loyola University in Maryland. He completed a Yale University Fellowship in International Health where he served as executive director of the Ethiopia Hospital Management Initiative, which was sponsored by the Clinton Foundation. Tim has also served as vice president of Global Services and managing director for Johns Hopkins Medicine International; CEO of two Hopkins-managed hospitals in the Middle East; and executive vice president for Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore.

In our next edition of Compass, we’ll sit down with Tim and learn about his philosophy on investing in people, his thoughts about us locals, and how his diverse career background working in the United States and abroad revealed one universal truth. Please join us in welcoming Tim to Maine and EMHS!