Giving and accepting gifts at Texas Children’s

The holidays are approaching, and with that comes the gift-giving season! 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? 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 answers to some frequently asked questions to ensure you and your staff are appropriately handling gifts among Texas Children’s workforce members, patients, Health Plan members, and vendors.

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 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 $15 per item, or $75 annually per patient or Health Plan member. 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. In the rare circumstances where return of a gift is not possible, the gift must be delivered to the Office of Philanthropy, who will use it for the benefit of patients and families.

Vendors

Can I accept cash or cash equivalents from a vendor?
No. Never accept cash or cash equivalents (including gift cards) from vendors.

What other gifts can I not accept from a vendors?
It is not appropriate to accept gifts from vendors that may influence or appear to influence their decision-making on behalf of Texas Children’s.

What can I accept from a vendor?
Gifts with nominal value are acceptable if they are infrequent, of nominal value 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. Unsolicited offers of entertainment or social events (e.g. attendance at a sporting or cultural event, participating in a sporting activity) as long as long as they are infrequent, do not improperly influence behavior, and will not influence any part of a decision making process.

Can I accept gifts from vendors that are involved in a bid/award process?
No. If a vendor is involved in a Request for Proposal, Request for Information, or Request for Quote, you may not accept any gift or meal, regardless of its value.

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 at ext. 4-2085 or compliance@texaschildrens.org.