Letter from William L. Engelhardt, Alumni President

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, formerly the Health Care Financing Administration, Alumni Association (HCFA/CMS AA) was formed in the summer of 1995 to serve as a mechanism for people who have shared a working career together in health care to maintain their friendships with each other and their relationships with CMS, formerly HCFA, and its staff.

The underlying premise is that involvement in the organization and activities of CMS or its precedent agencies up to the time of retirement, or for a substantial number of years before transferring to other employment, creates enduring attachments among those former employees and between them and CMS. It is assumed that such attachments should be preserved and enhanced for the contributions they can make to advance good fellowship among retirees and former CMS employees with one another and with the current staff of CMS. Benefits of this relationship are expected to flow to the members of the Alumni Association, to the staff of CMS and to CMS as an organization.

By way of a quarterly "Alumni News," the HCFA/CMS AA provides its membership with updated information about the goings on in CMS and information from various sources of general interest to retirees. A feature entitled "Whatever Happened To...." has been well received as a way of sharing the retirement story of members. Issues of the CMS VOICE are also provided. As many of the CMS retirees spent a considerable part of their career with the Social Security Administration, a link to the Social Security Employees Activities Association is included at the HCFA/CMS AA web site. A HCFA/CMS AA Membership Directory helps members keep track of the comings and goings of their fellow retirees.

HCFA/CMS AA members are also available to participate in retirement seminars and other CMS sponsored events.

Despite the difficulty of arranging for activities that everyone can participate in, because membership in the HCFA/CMS AA is spread out all over the country, many projects have been successful. An annual Holiday luncheon in the Baltimore area has proven to be a popular event. Tours of Oriole Park at Camden Yards and PSINet Stadium and a summer picnic are other examples of activities sponsored by the Association. Although a significant number of members are from the Maryland and nearby southern Pennsylvania (me included in this one), Washington, DC and northern Virginia areas, it is a pleasant surprise that there are so many members from the Regions.

Suggestions for activities are always welcome and the Alumni Association is happy to work with regional retirees to develop local chapters or events. Thanks to the wonders of cyberspace, members can be in touch with each other despite the physical distances between them. Fully a third of the membership is Internet connected and through that medium, and via the HCFA/CMS Alumni News and the Member Directory, the Association fosters a continued connection among CMS retirees.

It all begins with membership, so we actively encourage retirees to join the HCFA/CMS Alumni Association. Enrollment information is included in every retirement package. All of the benefits discussed above are currently available for an annual fee of just $5.00. The HCFA/CMS AA can be contacted by regular mail at PO Box 47564, Baltimore, MD 21244-7564; by e-mail at "" and by telephone at (410) 786-3918.

We look forward to having CMS employees (also employees of its antecedent organizations, i.e., HCFA, SSA, SRS, PROPAC, PPRC, and the DHHS Office of General Counsel) join us as they enter the wonderful world of retirement.

I want to wish all CMS employees and retirees the best.