October 29, 2018

This year, we have an amazing and comprehensive benefits line-up with many of your favorite oldies, as well as new and upcoming acts. Select the benefits that rock for you and your family!

Stay in Tune

Be sure to visit the Texas Children’s Benefits website, your 24/7 backstage pass to all of the latest benefits options, including rates and much more.

Stop by and jam with our Benefits band members at one of our many Annual Enrollment tour stops throughout Texas Children’s campuses, beginning Monday, October 29. Don’t miss the:

Benefits & Well-Being Concert
Tuesday, October 30
7 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Pavilion for Women, Floor 4

Meet and Greet – The Woodlands
Wednesday, October 31
1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
Main Lobby

Meet and Greet – West Campus
Friday, November 2
10 a.m. to noon
Floor 1 Corridor

For additional personalized support, take advantage of Cigna One Guide®, a 24/7 concierge service center dedicated to Texas Children’s employees at 800-342-6664.

If you do not make any elections during Annual Enrollment, you will be enrolled based on last year’s elections, with the exception of FSAs. To participate in either the Healthcare or Dependent Care FSA in 2019, you must make an election during Annual Enrollment.
Please note, benefits changes after Annual Enrollment are not permitted under federal regulations, except for life events and job status changes. Otherwise, the next opportunity for you to change your benefits elections is the 2020 Annual Enrollment.

Stay up-to-date on important benefits reminders and activities all year by texting “TCHBenefits” to 88202. Standard carrier message and data rates may apply.

Thank you for participating in Annual Enrollment!

October 16, 2018

Heidi Allen rolled up the sleeve of her Kangaroo Crew uniform and looked stoically ahead as a nurse with Employee Health & Wellness gave her an annual flu vaccine.

Allen, a respiratory therapist with the Pediatric Intensive Transport Team, said during one of Employee Health and Wellness’ recent flu vaccine events that she gets the flu shot every year to protect herself as well as her patients and their families.

“Many are immunocompromised and don’t have the ability to fight off infections like we do,” Allen said. “I just think it’s a very responsible thing to do.”


Allen is one of 8,395 Texas Children’s employees who have gotten their flu shot, bringing our vaccinated employee population to 60 percent. The remaining 40 percent of Texas Children’s employees are highly encouraged to get their free flu vaccine from Employee Health and Wellness at one of the remaining scheduled flu vaccine events or by contacting Employee Health and Wellness to schedule a time to come by the Employee Health Clinic to receive a shot.

Employees who receive their flu vaccine by November 2, 2018, will be entered into a drawing to win one of 25 Nutri Ninja Pro Blenders. Employee Health will email winners at 3 p.m. on Wednesday, November 7.

Each fall, Texas Children’s employees are asked to get vaccinated against the flu to not only protect themselves but to protect those around them – their coworkers, family, friends, and their patients. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) predicts this year’s flu season will begin in October. The CDC recommends a yearly flu vaccination as the first and most important step in protecting against the flu and its potentially serious complications. To learn more about the upcoming flu season, click here.

See photos of your colleagues getting their flu shots below.

Employee Health will administer free flu vaccines to Texas Children’s employees, Baylor College of Medicine employees working at Texas Children’s facilities, Morrison, Crothall, or Compass contract employees and volunteers of Texas Children’s Hospital. Employee Health will administer free flu vaccines to Texas Children’s employees, Baylor College of Medicine employees working at Texas Children’s facilities, Morrison, Crothall, or Compass contract employees and volunteers of Texas Children’s Hospital.

Upon vaccination at Texas Children’s, staff will receive a 2018-2019 flu season sticker to place on their badges.

In order to protect our patients from exposure to influenza, employees who decline the flu vaccine for approved exemptions should wear a surgical mask when providing direct patient care services for the duration of the influenza season. See In order to protect our patients from exposure to influenza, employees who decline the flu vaccine for approved exemptions should wear a surgical mask when providing direct patient care services for the duration of the influenza season. See Required Influenza Vaccination Policy and Procedure for more details.

ONLINE CONSENT FORM AND PROOF OF VACCINATION
Texas Children’s employees are to complete their Flu Vaccine Consent Form online via the Employee Health & Wellness Portal prior to attending a flu vaccination event.*

This process greatly reduced the wait times for flu vaccination last year, as well as eliminated the need to scan or fax the Flu Vaccine Consent Forms to Employee Health. Click here to view a quick video tutorial on how to access the flu vaccine consent form online. For instructions on how to log in to the portal click here or click here to view step-by step instructions.

NEW PROCESS: Employees who receive their flu vaccine outside of Texas Children’s can easily submit their attestation and proof of vaccination via this online form. Employee Health will no longer accept proof of vaccination via fax or email.

If you have any questions, please contact Employee Health Services at 832-824-2150, option 2.

* Baylor College of Medicine employees working in Texas Children’s facilities will continue to complete paper consent forms when they receive the flu vaccine.

October 15, 2018

On October 6, nearly 500 Texas Children’s patients, parents and employees took a walk on the wild side at the Houston Zoo for the first Fall Family Festival, sponsored by Texas Children’s Transplant Services.

“It’s special for these patients to have an event like this,” said Medical Director of Transplant Services Dr. John Goss. “It’s exciting for these children to be able to play and interact with each other, and it’s truly a testament to what our multidisciplinary team can do.”

It was a morning full of fun and festivities, as 106 current and former Texas Children’s transplant patients and their families gathered for face painting, snow cones, music from a live DJ and a lunch buffet at the Masihara Pavilion. Rather than holding a special ceremony, the festival simply provided kids with an opportunity to come together and have fun with other kids who’ve been through similar ordeals, and to remind them that they’re not alone.

“Being together in a fun, social setting is so important for transplant recipients,” said Riki Graves, whose daughter, Juliana, had a life-saving heart transplant at Texas Children’s in 2014 – at just 17 days old. “This event was a wonderful way to let kids get know to know other kids who’ve been through transplant, or are waiting, so they can feel like normal kids and not like a sick child who is different or needs special care.”

Graves says the event was also a special way to thank transplants recipients’ biggest supporters – their siblings – who usually feel the hospital stays and extra care given to the recipients more deeply than the rest of the family.

Transplantation began at Texas Children’s in 1984, when Dr. Denton Cooley performed a pediatric heart transplant. Since that time, Transplant Services at Texas Children’s Hospital has grown into one of the largest pediatric programs in the nation, performing 112 solid organ transplants in 2017, making it the most active pediatric transplant program in the nation. Our depth of skill and service, both within the program and throughout the hospital, gives us the ability to care for newborns to young adults in need of heart, kidney, liver and lung transplants.

Transplant Services is proud of its long list of firsts, including the hospital’s first – and 1 of only 3 in the nation – triple transplant of heart, lungs and liver in one procedure. We also performed the first pediatric lung-kidney transplant in the United States. Since 2004, 25 patients have been transplanted with double organs, including liver-kidney, liver-lung, heart-lung, heart-kidney and lung-kidney.

Learn more about Transplant Services at Texas Children’s.

October 8, 2018

Time is something every grieving parent wishes they had more of when saying goodbye to their child. Katie and Phillip Hurlbut would have loved to have had more time with their daughter Ella Grace, who passed away seven weeks after birth due to complications from an infection in September 2015.

“We felt rushed after she passed away,” said Katie, who is a nurse practitioner at Texas Children’s Pediatrics Humble Fall Creek. “We had very little time for our family to come and say goodbye to her.”

To extend the narrow window of time families have with a lost loved one, the Hurlbuts recently donated two Caring Cradles in Ella’s memory – one to the Women’s Specialty Unit at the Pavilion for Women and the other to Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Texas Children’s Hospital The Woodlands.

The cradles use a cooling blanket to cool the baby’s body, which prevents any distressing physical changes and lengthens the preservation of the child by 24 to 48 hours. The cradles can be positioned in a private setting so that families not only have more time with their baby but can say goodbye in a private, dignified way.

“After we lost Ella, feeling her body change was one of the most upsetting things for me. Those changes made me realize how quickly she was slipping away from me,” Katie said. “As a grieving mother, I struggled knowing I only had a short amount of time to create memories with her. It’s our prayer for these Caring Cradles to give the gift of time to grieving families.”

Jenni Fair, patient care manager in the NICU at Texas Children’s Hospital Medical Center campus, said the cradles are especially helpful to mothers who might have been ill during delivery and unable to spend time with their child immediately after birth.

“Some mothers are literally physically unable to mourn the death of their child for a day or so until they are doing better themselves,” Fair said. “The cradles are very helpful in these situations.”

The Hurlbut’s donation of the Caring Cradles came a little more than a year after the grand opening of the Butterfly Bereavement Room at the Pavilion for Women. Devoid of medical equipment, the Butterfly Room is a nicely decorated nursery where families can separate themselves from the hospital setting and mourn privately. When they leave the room, families can take a purple bag filled with things such as a bereavement gown for their baby, a blanket and a book.

The Butterfly Bereavement Room also was an initiative spearheaded by the Hurlbuts.

“Our goal is to bring peace and comfort to other families going through the same painful experience we did – losing a baby,” Katie said. “We’re very thankful for the opportunity to turn something so tragic into something good. Ella’s life will continue to impact grieving families in a positive way for many years to come.”

September 26, 2018

This week’s Radio Lollipop broadcast was extra special as Houston Texans offensive tackle Kendall Lamm, center Greg Mancz and Texans Analyst John Harris joined in on the fun! They played games with patients and their families, decorated football helmets, danced to patient-requested songs and spent time in the Kids Own Studio answering questions from patients and families.

Radio Lollipop is a fully-equipped, on-site radio station at Texas Children’s that broadcasts to patients’ rooms via the hospital’s television system. It is a volunteer-driven program that involves children in play and activities, using the sounds of radio to help stimulate the children’s imagination. Volunteer deejays create excitement among patients by playing Top 40 hits, taking call-in requests and putting kids “on-air” to actively participate in the magic of radio. Each on-air broadcast also features games, art projects, storytelling and contests in which kids win prizes.

Texas Children’s is the Official Children’s Hospital of the Houston Texans. To learn more visit texaschildrens.org/texans.

September 18, 2018

Flu season is almost here! While a record breaking 91 percent of our employees received their flu vaccine in 2017, we continue to strive to make the flu vaccination program even more successful. This year we have a lot of exciting new plans to share with you, such as an increased amount of flu vaccination events across the organization and a new online process for employees to submit proof of vaccinations. As a way to encourage our workforce to get vaccinated earlier in the season, all staff who receive their flu vaccine by Friday, November 2, will be entered into a drawing to win one of 25 Nutri Ninja Pro Blenders.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) predicts this year’s flu season will begin in October. The CDC recommends a yearly flu vaccination as the first and most important step in protecting against the flu and its potentially serious complications. To learn more about the upcoming flu season, click here. Please remind staff that receiving a flu vaccine protects our patients and their families, reduces flu illnesses, doctor’s visits and missed workdays, and; helps to prevent flu-related hospitalizations.

Below is a more in-depth overview of what to expect for our Flu Program in 2018.

Flu Program Details
  • Employee Health will administer free flu vaccines to Texas Children’s employees, Baylor College of Medicine employees working at Texas Children’s facilities, Morrison, Crothall, or Compass contract employees and volunteers of Texas Children’s Hospital. Employee Health will administer free flu vaccines to Texas Children’s employees, Baylor College of Medicine employees working at Texas Children’s facilities, Morrison, Crothall, or Compass contract employees and volunteers of Texas Children’s Hospital.
  • Click on the graphic to the right to view Texas Children’s vaccination event schedule.
  • Upon vaccination at Texas Children’s, staff will receive a 2018-2019 flu season sticker to place on their badges. Upon vaccination at Texas Children’s, staff will receive a 2018-2019 flu season sticker to place on their badges.
  • Employees who receive their flu vaccine by November 2, 2018, will be entered into a drawing to win one of 25 Nutri Ninja Pro Blenders. Employee Health will email winners at 3 p.m. on Wednesday, November 7.
  • In order to protect our patients from exposure to influenza, employees who decline the flu vaccine for approved exemptions should wear a surgical mask when providing direct patient care services for the duration of the influenza season. See In order to protect our patients from exposure to influenza, employees who decline the flu vaccine for approved exemptions should wear a surgical mask when providing direct patient care services for the duration of the influenza season. See Required Influenza Vaccination Policy and Procedure for more details.

Online Consent Form and Proof of Vaccination

  • Texas Children’s employees are to complete their Flu Vaccine Consent Form online via the Employee Health & Wellness Portal prior to attending a flu vaccination event.*
  • This process greatly reduced the wait times for flu vaccination last year, as well as eliminated the need to scan or fax the Flu Vaccine Consent Forms to Employee Health.
  • Click here to view a quick video tutorial on how to access the flu vaccine consent form online.
  • For instructions on how to log in to the portal click here or click here to view step-by step instructions.
  • New Process: Employees who receive their flu vaccine outside of Texas Children’s can easily submit their attestation and proof of vaccination via this online form. Employee Health will no longer accept proof of vaccination via fax or email.

If you have any questions, please contact Employee Health Services at 832-824-2150, option 2.

* Baylor College of Medicine employees working in Texas Children’s facilities will continue to complete paper consent forms when they receive the flu vaccine.

As part of National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, Texas Children’s Bone Marrow Transplant Unit (BMT) was transformed for a few hours last week into a full-fledged parade route – music, costumes and all.

The Lace Up 4 Life event – hosted in part by Be The Match, which manages the largest and most diverse marrow registry in the world – began in the inpatient portion of the unit with patients dressed in super hero capes and costumes parading downs the halls with staff members by their side and cheering them on.

“We enjoy this event every year,” said Dr. Robert Krance, director of the Pediatric Bone Marrow Transplant (BMT)/Stem Cell Transplant Program at Texas Children’s Hospital. “It’s a time for us to celebrate the lives of those who have been saved by a bone marrow transplant, and to remember those who are still racing to find a match.”

After several laps around the inpatient unit, patients retired to their rooms while the parade continued to the outpatient portion of the unit, pausing for a special announcement from Hope Guidry-Groves with Be The Match.

“Today, 16-year-old Jacob Bustamente is going to meet his donor, Heather Wallace, for the very first time,” Guidry-Groves said. “We are so fortunate to be a part of an organization that makes moments like these possible.”

Jacob is a patient at Texas Children’s and so is Wallace’s son. When they first laid eyes on one another they quickly embraced in a long, emotional hug.

“Thank you so much,” Bustamente said. “You are such a blessing.”

Wallace told the audience that everyone should join the marrow registry. “There’s no reason not to,” she said.

Texas Children’s Cancer Center has a premier bone marrow and stem cell transplantation program. Our state-of-the-art, 15-bed inpatient transplant unit is among the largest of its kind in the Southwestern United States and focuses exclusively on transplantation. The Bone Marrow Transplant Clinic performs over 100 transplants per year.

Texas Children’s works closely with Be The Match to find donors for our patients. Learn how marrow donation works, the steps of a patient transplant, steps of donation, and factors that can impact the likelihood of finding a match here. A marrow transplant may be someone’s only hope for a cure.