Giving and accepting gifts at Texas Children’s

In your role at Texas Children’s, you might have encountered situations where patients, Health Plan members, or vendors want to give you gifts to express their gratitude. And you’ve probably thought to yourself, can I accept the gift? The answer, unfortunately, is probably not. Depending on your job, accepting a gift may interfere with your professional responsibilities, and could trigger violations of certain laws or ethical rules.

So what is appropriate? Below are some FAQs to ensure you and your staff are appropriately handling gifts among Texas Children’s workforce members, patients, Health Plan members, and vendors.

Frequently Asked Questions

Patients and Health Plan members

Can I accept cash or cash equivalents from a patient, Health Plan member, or their family?

  • No. Never accept cash or cash equivalents (including gift cards) from patients or Health Plan Members. Even a $5 gift card to Starbucks is not appropriate.

What other gifts can I NOT accept from a patient, Health Plan member, or their family?

  • It is not appropriate to accept high dollar value gifts such as expensive pens, jewelry, electronics, tickets to sporting events or concerts, or other extravagant items.

What can I accept from a patient, Health Plan member, or their family?

  • Gifts with nominal value are acceptable if they are infrequent and do not create an obligation on your part. Examples include food, flowers, and balloons. These types of gifts should be shared with your co-workers.

Can I give a gift to a patient, Health Plan Member, or their family?

  • Yes, you can give nominal gifts, valued under $10 per item, or $50 annually per patient or Health Plan member. For tracking purposes, these gifts must be reported to the Compliance and Privacy Office.
  • Never give cash, cash equivalents (including gift cards), or high dollar value gifts.

How can I politely decline a gift without offending a patient, Health Plan member, or their family?

  • Always express gratitude, even when you cannot accept the gift.
  • Clarify that Texas Children’s does not generally allow you to accept gifts.
  • Stress that you do not want other patients or Health Plan members to feel like they have to give gifts.
  • If the family persists, redirect them to the Development Office, and state something along the lines of “the money could be put to far better use by the organization to help sick children in need.”

Vendors

Can I accept cash or cash equivalents from a Texas Children’s vendor?

  • No, it is never appropriate to accept cash or cash equivalents from a vendor.

A vendor sends me a box of chocolates for the holidays. Can I accept it?

  • Yes, in-kind gifts are acceptable if they are infrequent and of nominal value. These types of gifts should be shared with your co-workers.

Can I accept gifts from vendors that are involved in a bid/award process?

  • No, it is never appropriate to accept a gift of any kind from a company that is involved in a current vendor selection process.

If a vendor offers any other type of gift or monetary compensation, please contact the Compliance and Privacy Office for assistance.

Colleagues

Can I give or accept a gift from a co-worker?

  • Yes, you can exchange gifts with your colleagues, as long as you paid for the gift yourself. You may not use Texas Children’s funds (e.g. eReimbursement, ProCard) for gifts for colleagues.

If you have a question about giving or receiving gifts, please contact Compliance and Privacy (Ext. 4-2085 or compliance@texaschildrens.org).