July 15, 2019

In the spirit of living compassionately for our growing workforce, Texas Children’s entered into a partnership with ComPsych in January to launch EAP Plus, an enhanced Employee Assistance Program that offers a wide variety of new services in addition to traditional counseling. In the first three months of the new service, more than 2,000 employees utilized EAP Plus services. This service has been a valuable asset to our employees and is now available to physicians and advanced practitioners in medical staffing working at Texas Children’s locations.

How can EAP Plus help?

Suppose you want to find the perfect amusement park for your vacation. Simply call EAP Plus on Texas Children’s dedicated phone line to connect with resource specialists who will listen to your questions and research answers tailor-made to your needs. Within a few business days, you’ll have a full report of practical information and affordable alternatives that can be delivered to you via e-mail, fax or second-day air.

There is virtually no limit to what the EAP Plus specialists can research and find for you:

  • Temporary child care
  • Summer camps for sports, theater, computing or any other interest
  • Volunteer opportunities
  • College summer learning programs for teens
  • Amusement parks or resorts in your area or across the county
  • Museums, science centers, zoos and aquariums your kids will love
  • Kid-friendly destinations across the U.S. and the globe
  • Concerts or exhibits coming to your area
  • The best hiking trails in your area for little legs
  • National Parks highlights
  • Kayaking and canoeing outfitters
  • The cleanest beaches with the safest waters
  • Considerations when traveling abroad with children
  • Country-specific resources for your overseas voyage
  • Minivan or car rental options
  • Pet care and boarding services
  • Fun and creative projects you can do at home
  • Ideas for outdoor grilling
  • Tips on growing your own vegetable garden
  • Bike sales and repairs, and more

No matter what you need to pull off the perfect summer, you can count on EAP Plus for information, resources and referrals. Confidential assistance is available at no cost 24 hours a day, seven days a week, for work-life planning and more. Click here to check out family travel tips from EAP Plus, including advice for traveling on a budget, surviving a road trip with the kids, packing up the pets, adjusting to work after returning from vacation and more.

How can I access my EAP Plus benefits?
Access your EAP Plus benefits in one of two ways:

  1. By calling 833.EAP.PLUS (833-327-7587) to connect with a certified counselor 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Representantes que hablan Español están disponibles.
  2. By visiting EAP Plus online at http://www.guidanceresources.com/
    Employees should then click “register” and enter EAPPLUS as the Organization Web ID.

What can an employee expect when they call EAP Plus?
When an employee calls, they will speak with a GuidanceConsultant, a masters- or doctorate-level counselor who will collect some general information and listen to the employee’s concerns. The GuidanceConsultant will then provide a referral to a local counselor who best fits the employee’s unique needs. The employee can then set up an appointment to speak with the counselor over the phone or schedule a face-to-face visit. EAP Plus is strictly confidential.

What counseling services will EAP Plus provide?
EAP Plus provides free short-term counseling with local counselors who can help employees with emotional concerns. If the counselor determines that the issues can be resolved with short-term counseling, the employee will receive counseling through EAP Plus. However, if it is determined that the problem cannot be resolved in short-term counseling, and longer-term treatment is needed, the employee will be referred to a specialist early on, and the employee’s insurance coverage will be activated.

June 17, 2019

No matter your goal – to lose weight, eat better, move more, develop a more positive mindset or all of the above – this summer is a great time to take advantage of Texas Children’s ongoing partnership with WW, the newly reimagined Weight Watchers program.

WW offers effective science-based programs, tools and experiences that encourage healthy eating and are flexible enough to fit into your daily life. Employees who sign up through Texas Children’s receive more than 50 percent off their WW membership, with the option to participate online or attend unlimited, in-person workshops in the community or right here at work.

WW meetings are held from 11:45 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., every Tuesday at Feigin Tower. Check out the Connect calendar for exact room locations, and click here for more information about Texas Children’s reduced membership pricing.

Sample WW recipes

Visit the Fresh Bistro in the Pavilion for Women, Dots Café at West Campus, and The Woodlands Cafeteria during the week of June 17-21 for WW recipes, recipe cards, and point values displayed for grab-and-go items.

Featured menu items include:

  • Salmon with roasted chickpeas and veggies
  • Rigatoni with turkey sausage and kale

Get a free WW Insiders Box

Employees who purchase a WW membership between June 17 and July 26 are also eligible to receive a free Insiders Box, featuring mini cookbooks, a sampling of bestselling WW products, exclusive access wellness partners, and $35 in coupons. New members have until August 9 to redeem their kit. Click here for Insiders Box details.

For more information about Texas Children’s partnership with WW and enrolling in the program, visit the Human Resources Well-Being page on Connect or contact the Well-Being team at wellbeing@texaschildrens.org.

June 3, 2019

Denine Moody shares her experience using Cigna Telehealth, a new benefit that allows employees who are enrolled in a Texas Children’s medical plan, to connect with a doctor for consultation right from their smartphone. More

April 2, 2019

Texas Children’s employees are now just a phone call or secure video conference away from connecting with board-certified doctors and pediatricians anytime, anywhere, for more than a dozen common or chronic health conditions.

All employees and their eligible dependents who are enrolled in a Texas Children’s medical plan have access to Cigna Telehealth, a new benefit introduced during 2019 Annual Enrollment. Eligible members can use Cigna Telehealth to reach a doctor from home or when traveling throughout the United States, for a variety of general issues: allergies, fevers, headaches, infections, insect bites, nausea, joint aches and more. Pediatric care for your covered dependents is also available via Telehealth for cold and flu, constipation, nausea, pink eye and earaches in children.

Consultation and prescribing are provided 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, by doctors from Amwell, a leading telehealth platform. All telehealth consultations are subject to the same confidentiality requirements that apply to consultations in a doctor’s office. Simply follow these instructions to download the Amwell for Cigna app to register, find a doctor and access services via phone or video for a $20 co-payment under Texas Children’s Traditional Plan, or a 20 percent coinsurance under the Consumer Plus Plan. For more information about Telehealth, click here to view this short video or visit our Benefits website (scroll down to Telehealth). Employees are highly encouraged to download the Amwell for Cigna app to their phones today and register their information in advance so they and their covered dependents can utilize the service immediately when a need arises.

Some members who have already used Telehealth have shared that the service has been a welcome addition to their Cigna benefits. Others have expressed how impressed they were by how easy it is to navigate and use the app, and how quickly they were connected with a doctor after requesting an appointment.

One Texas Children’s employee recently used Telehealth for her 12-year-old son, who needed treatment for an itchy and rapidly spreading rash. With the pediatrician’s office closed and her son more miserable by the minute, she downloaded the Amwell for Cigna app. The employee found it easy to enter relevant health history and upload pictures of the rash, and had a diagnosis from a doctor and a prescription called in to their pharmacy. The whole process took less than 30 minutes.

When another employee developed a case of poison ivy on a recent weekend, she downloaded the app and was face to face with a doctor via video conference in what she expressed “seemed like no time at all.”

Please contact our Total Rewards team at 832-824-2421, select option 1 and then 7 to speak to a Benefits team member from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday or email totalrewards@texaschildrens.org.

Already used Cigna Telehealth?
We want your feedback on this new benefit offering! Please share your experiences with us via email at wellbeing@texaschildrens.org.

December 11, 2018

On December 10, Texas Children’s posted the 2018 Pension Plan deposit into the accounts of eligible employees. To see how much your pension plan has grown, log into your Mercer account. For new users, you may register by clicking on “Get Started.” On the Mercer website, you will also find useful tools to help you view your balance, estimate your future pension plan balance and verify/update your beneficiary information.

This pension plan is designed to provide a foundation for your retirement and is fully funded by Texas Children’s. You are automatically enrolled in the plan on April 1 or October 1 once you reach 21 years of age and have worked 1,000 hours or more during the 12 consecutive months after your initial date of hire. Contributions are vested according to the schedule shown here.

To learn more about Texas Children’s Pension Plan, visit our Benefits website or call 800-752-8230 to speak with a Mercer representative.

Texas Children’s 403(b) Savings Plan

The IRS has increased retirement contribution limits for 2019. The maximum amount an employee can contribute to their Texas Children’s 403(b) Savings Plan during 2019 is $19,000. Employees turning age 50 or over can contribute an additional $6,000 during 2019.

Texas Children’s matches 50 percent on the first 6 percent of your deferral contributions per pay period, up to a maximum of $8,400 for 2019. Employer contributions are vested according to the schedule shown here.

If you are not already enrolled in the 403(b) savings plan or not contributing at least 6 percent, you should consider doing so now. To update your contribution elections or to enroll, please visit Fidelity NetBenefits to access your online account. If you are registering online for the first time, please click on “Register as a new user” in the log-in area.

Announcing New Roth Contributions in the 403(b) Savings Plan

Effective December 1, 2018, employees can now choose to make Roth after-tax contributions through the 403(b) savings plan. Just as with a traditional pre-tax plan, you elect how much of your salary you wish to contribute. Your contributions to a Roth 403(b) and traditional pre-tax 403(b) cannot exceed the IRS limit. Highly compensated individuals who are not eligible for a Roth IRA may utilize the Roth 403(b) contributions features.

Additional features include the opportunity to roll over existing Roth accounts from former employers into the 403(b) savings plan, and also converting existing pre-tax 403(b) savings plan contributions to a designated Roth account.

To learn more about Texas Children’s 403(b) Savings Plan, visit our Benefits website or call 800-343-0860 to speak with a Fidelity representative.

Beneficiary Elections
Please remember to review and update your beneficiaries. Elections can be made online through Mercer or Fidelity. Beneficiary elections for your retirement plans are not maintained in MOLI.

November 19, 2018

The shuttle commute for employees at the Medical Center campus continues to be quicker and easier following the addition of three new shuttles earlier this spring. We are now operating 12 shuttles, which are helping reduce midday wait times at the circulator stops. According to Facilities Operations, wait times have been cut in half since the addition of the shuttles.

“Midday traveling between the Meyer Building and the Medical Center Campus is a very busy time,” Facilities Operations Assistant Director Michael Jackson said. “So, decreasing wait times for midday riders is a very big win.”

Most recently, two loaner shuttles were replaced with two new Texas Children’s-branded shuttles in bright orange and hot pink, which are diesel-fueled and have front entry and rear exits, vinyl seats, and audio-visual monitors. They’re also equipped with Double Map shuttle tracking, which, once active, will allow employees to locate and track the shuttle using a mobile phone app.

“Our goal is to improve the shuttle experience for employees by decreasing wait times and increasing the frequency of shuttles in the rotation to and from destinations,” Jackson said, adding that the number of employees riding the shuttles continues to increase. “The frequency between shuttles is now averaging five minutes with a shuttle round trip averaging 20 minutes. We are receiving no calls of negative effects on ridership at this time.”

Another operational change made was allowing the shuttle supervisor, who has primarily been stationed at the Garage 19 stop, to move to the Feigin stop during peak evening times to monitor shuttle frequency, ridership, and most importantly, communicate to riders when the next shuttle will arrive.

“We believe informing riders of the shuttle arrival status helps ease anxiety and set expectations,” Facilities Operations Manager Samuel Hines said. “With more staff parking at the Meyer South surface lots, we have asked our shuttle drivers to stop there on the return trip back to Garage 19 in the evenings. This will shorten the walk to their vehicles at night and during inclement weather.”

The enhancements Facilities Operations continues to implement for employees also help provide a better experience for patient families. Jackson says that the additional shuttles are expected to improve patient and family experience by opening up parking spaces at the hospital, as staff continue parking in their assigned garages and ride the shuttle.

The Facilities Operations team is excited about the new additions, and they are looking forward to continuing to make employees’ commute throughout the Medical Center a safe and efficient one.

“We ride the shuttles frequently, and we meet with the shuttle transportation company every two weeks to address any issue and pitch ideas,” Jackson said. ”Just being present, available, fostering that communication, and definitely being transparent is going to be the key to improving Texas Children’s transportation and parking as a whole.”

For more information, call the 24/7 shuttle hotline, ext. 4-2666.

Parking update

The Texas Children’s Parking Task Force is listening to your feedback about employee parking and shuttle experiences, and we are trying to create solutions to ease the frustrations that come with working and navigating in the world’s largest medical complex.

What has the Parking Task Force accomplished recently?

We are excited to share with you new developments and improvements made over the past few months. Click here for more details.

Where can I find more parking information?

The Benefits website is the best and most readily available resource for everything employees want to know about parking and commuting at Texas Children’s – one of the last institutions in the Medical Center to offer paid, off-campus parking as a benefit to our employees. Simply click on Parking at the top right corner of the Benefits homepage (next to Important Resources) for direct access to all things parking.

Under the “Locations & Commuter Options” section on the site, we have included new information about TMC parking at Garage 19, Meyer North, Meyer South as well as Smith Lands East and West. You can also find more information online about weekend and after-hours access to different garages, security services and no-cost METRO bus and rail passes.

How can we keep up with what the Parking Task Force is doing?

Communicating with our Texas Children’s employees and leveraging your feedback are major priorities for the Task Force. Be sure to look for future updates about the group’s activities and accomplishments on Connect.

I want to share my comments or concerns with the Parking Task Force. How do I get in touch?

The Parking Task Force maintains and monitors a dedicated email inbox every day to give our employees a place to share their parking and shuttle comments and suggestions directly with the team. Send your thoughts and feedback to tchparkingtaskforce@texaschildrens.org.

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!