February 16, 2016

21716grief640At Texas Children’s Hospital we live compassionately. We care and sacrifice, celebrate, and sometimes grieve. Grief is one of the primary reasons people access the Employee Assistance Program (EAP). Simply defined, grief is the normal and natural reaction to significant emotional loss of any kind. The EAP offers support to those who are suffering from loss.

Grief is individual and unique and as varied as each of our personalities. But, to help move beyond that pain and loss, everyone needs specific tools, many of which can be found through the EAP’s Grief Recovery Group. Sharing your loss with others going through similar feelings is the best way to heal the pain associated with loss.

The free 10-week program is dedicated to helping people find the support they need to move beyond grief, whether it’s over the loss of a loved one, a divorce or a situation at work. Facilitated by EAP staff and open to all Texas Children’s and Baylor College of Medicine employees, the program follows specific tasks outlined in The Grief Recovery Handbook by John James and Russell Friedman.

Anyone who has experienced loss and is ready to move beyond it, should consider joining the next Grief Recovery Group. Meetings are from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Tuesdays in conference room WC.0150.20 B at Texas Children’s Hospital West Campus beginning Tuesday, March 22 through Tuesday, May 24. Another round of the group will be held at the Meyer Building in HR conference room 1 beginning Tuesday, September 6 through Tuesday, November 8.

To register please contact the EAP by calling Ext. 4-3327 or email eap@texaschildrens.org.

February 9, 2016

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Texas Children’s Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is making its services easier to access using video technology. Instead of driving to one of the organization’s main locations to meet with a counselor, Texas Children’s employees and dependents can get services anywhere via a device with a camera and Internet connection.

“We are casting a wide net so that we can easily reach everyone who needs us,” said EAP Program Manager Brent LoCaste Wilken. “Technology is helping us accomplish that goal.”

Unlike Skype and popular video chat technology, the system EAP uses is secure and HIPPA compliant. The video sessions are not recorded and no one else, outside of the client and the counselor, can participate in the session.

Video counseling sessions also are being offered at Texas Children’s Hospital West Campus via a 47-inch monitor mounted on a wall in a private room of the hospital’s Human Resources suite. Similar video technology will be available at Texas Children’s Hospital The Woodlands when it opens in 2017.

To make an appointment with an EAP counselor, call Ext. 4-3327. If the session will be via video, you will receive instructions on how to access the new video technology.

The EAP helps with:

  • Stress management
  • Work/life resilience
  • Financial assistance
  • Parenting and family guidance
  • Crisis & trauma resolution
  • Grief recovery
  • Work performance improvement
  • Community referrals
  • Relationship counseling
  • Emotional well-being
December 8, 2015

The sound of strumming ukuleles in unison can be heard every Thursday at noon outside of the Kids’ Zone Radio studios. That’s when a group of Texas Children’s employees come together to learn to play the ukulele. The group consists of men and women from various departments who have kindled a friendship over their new musical talents.

“When we started, it was really for the child life department for team building and self care, but people enjoyed coming and it grew,” said Music Therapist Amy Smith. “People who were in the group started inviting other people in the hospital who might want a break in their day, who might want to do some self care while here at work, to learn a new skill and meet new people.”

The group has now grown to 20 employees and continues to see more interest as word gets out about this sort of music therapy for employees. There is a lot of research to support the positive effects group music making can have on individuals. For Nurse Coordinator Amelia Sherinski, it’s a place to get away from the emotional task of working in hematology/oncology patients.

“There is a lot of emotional stress associated with my job,” Sherinski said. “It’s nice to take that mental break, come do something I’m really bad at, but have a good time doing it.”

The members of this team are by no means professional ukulele players. Most had never picked up the instrument before joining this group, but in preparation for Garth Brooks’ visit to dedicate the new Child Life Zone, the group prepared their own rendition of “Deep in the Heart of Texas.”

“Our tag line now is that the ukulele choir at Texas Children’s got to open for Garth Brooks,” Smith said. “That was a neat opportunity where they asked us to write a song and we decided to remake this famous song to instead say ‘deep in the heart of Texas Children’s’.”

But the choir isn’t just practicing for the next big celebrity to join, last year they did caroling on patient floors and they are even available to attend your next Texas Children’s event.

“It was so neat to give back to the children here at Texas Children’s in a different way than most of us are used to,” said child life specialist Laura Linville.

To join the Texas Children’s Ukulele Choir or request their talents for your next Texas Children’s event, contact Amy Smith.

December 1, 2015

31815InfographicBenefitsinside640Here at Texas Children’s, we are committed to your financial well-being when you retire after your years of valued service to our patients and our organization. That is why our comprehensive Total Rewards program includes two retirement programs to help you save for your future. Here’s how you can take advantage of these retirement benefits today:

Cash Balance Pension Plan (CBPP)
This is a fully funded pension plan provided by Texas Children’s to help you save for your retirement. You are automatically enrolled in the plan on April 1 or October 1 once you reach 21 years old and have worked 1,000 hours or more during the 12 consecutive months after your initial date of hire.

For the calendar year 2015, Texas Children’s has contributed approximately $19M in the CBPP for almost 9,000 active employees. On December 1, we will post the 2015 deposit into your CBPP (for qualified employees as explained above). To see how much your CBPP has grown, log into your account at www.ibenefitcenter.com. On the website, you also will find useful tools to help you view your balance, estimate your future pension balance and verify/update your beneficiary information.

To learn more about the Cash Balance Pension Plan, click here to view the summary plan description or call the Texas Children’s Hospital Pension Plan Support Team at 800-752-8230 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.

403(b) Savings Plan
If you are not already enrolled in the 403(b) savings plan, you should consider doing so. You do not want to miss out on Texas Children’s 50 percent match of the first 6 percent of your pre-tax per paycheck contribution. You can enroll anytime by contacting Fidelity at 800-343-0860 or online at www.fidelity.com/atwork.

Thank you for exemplifying our core values, especially Leading Tirelessly. At every level, we inspire each other, bettering ourselves, bettering our teammates, bettering our organization, and ultimately, bettering the world.

November 3, 2015

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One of the perks about working at Texas Children’s is the comprehensive Total Rewards package we offer our employees, which includes health care coverage, retirement, paid time off and much more. With 2016 Benefits Annual Enrollment is upon us, we are committed to helping you plan and select the benefits that best fit you and your family’s needs in the upcoming year.

Enrollment this year will be from October 30, through Friday, November 13. A newsletter highlighting your benefit options, some changes for 2016, and information on tools that can help make the enrollment process simple and successful was mailed to your home address on October 23.

If you want to change plans or coverage levels, or if you want to participate in the Health Care and/or Dependent Care Flexible Spending Accounts, you’ll need to elect your benefits during the enrollment period. If you don’t actively enroll during that time, your current benefits will automatically carry over next year, with the exception of Flexible Spending Accounts, which require you to actively enroll each year.

What’s new in 2016?
Here’s a short preview of what’s changing for 2016. You can learn more details in the 2016 Benefits Enrollment Guide on our benefits website.

  • CVS/caremark will be our prescription drug plan provider beginning January 1, 2016
  • More convenient retail locations including Walgreens
  • Mail-order pricing and quantities available only at CVS retail pharmacies
  • Modifications to the three medical plans
  • EPO and PPO prescription plan changes
  • In accordance with IRS guidelines the Health Care FSA limit has increased to $2,550
  • Changes to the PTO Sell Program due to regulatory requirements
  • New employees who join Texas Children’s on or after January 1, 2016 are immediately eligible for benefits

Where do I get more information about benefits?
Visit www.texaschildrensbenefits.org to learn more about your 2016 benefit options.

I need help selecting a plan. What resources are available?
You have access to Decision Direct, an interactive tool designed to help guide your decisions around which medical plan might work best for you and your family. Decision Direct is available on the benefits website under “Tools and Resources” and “Tools You Can Use To Decide”

How do I stay up to date with benefits information?
Text “TCHBENEFITS” to 88202 to receive important benefit reminders and activities year round.

How do I elect my benefits?
Log in to MOLI during Annual Enrollment and submit your 2016 benefits elections by 11:59 p.m. on Friday, November 13.

We strongly encourage everyone to actively participate in Annual Enrollment. Life changes from year to year, so it is very important to take the time to review and assess our current benefits selections to ensure that they align with your personal health care and financial needs/goals. Take the lead today in making the best decisions for you and your loved ones.

October 27, 2015

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One of the perks about working at Texas Children’s is the comprehensive Total Rewards package we offer our employees, which includes health care coverage, retirement, paid time off and much more. With 2016 Benefits Annual Enrollment right around the corner, we are committed to helping you plan and select the benefits that best fit you and your family’s needs in the upcoming year.

Enrollment this year will be from Friday, October 30, through Friday, November 13. A newsletter highlighting your benefit options, some changes for 2016, and information on tools that can help make the enrollment process simple and successful was mailed to your home address on October 23.

If you want to change plans or coverage levels, or if you want to participate in the Health Care and/or Dependent Care Flexible Spending Accounts, you’ll need to elect your benefits during the enrollment period. If you don’t actively enroll during that time, your current benefits will automatically carry over next year, with the exception of Flexible Spending Accounts, which require you to actively enroll each year.

What’s new in 2016?
Here’s a short preview of what’s changing for 2016. You can learn more details in the 2016 Benefits Enrollment Guide on our benefits website.

  • CVS/caremark will be our prescription drug plan provider beginning January 1, 2016
  • More convenient retail locations including Walgreens
  • Mail-order pricing and quantities available only at CVS retail pharmacies
  • Modifications to the three medical plans
  • EPO and PPO prescription plan changes
  • In accordance with IRS guidelines the Health Care FSA limit has increased to $2,550
  • Changes to the PTO Sell Program due to regulatory requirements
  • New employees who join Texas Children’s on or after January 1, 2016 are immediately eligible for benefits

Where do I get more information about benefits?
Visit www.texaschildrensbenefits.org to learn more about your 2016 benefit options.

I need help selecting a plan. What resources are available?
You have access to Decision Direct, an interactive tool designed to help guide your decisions around which medical plan might work best for you and your family. Decision Direct is available on the benefits website under “Tools and Resources” and “Tools You Can Use To Decide”

How do I stay up to date with benefits information?
Text “TCHBENEFITS” to 88202 to receive important benefit reminders and activities year round.

How do I elect my benefits?
Log in to MOLI during Annual Enrollment and submit your 2016 benefits elections by 11:59 p.m. on Friday, November 13.

2016 Benefits and Well-Being Fair
There will be several opportunities during the upcoming weeks to ask questions about the 2016 Benefits package and to enroll in whatever plan you choose. Representatives from benefits vendors and Human Resources will be on hand during this year’s Benefits and Well-Being Fair from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday, October 29, on The Auxiliary Bridge. This will also be a great opportunity to get your flu shot if you haven’t already done so.

We strongly encourage everyone to actively participate in Annual Enrollment. Life changes from year to year, so it is very important to take the time to review and assess our current benefits selections to ensure that they align with your personal health care and financial needs/goals. Take the lead today in making the best decisions for you and your loved ones.

October 13, 2015

Thousands of Texas Children’s employees have armed themselves against the upcoming flu season by taking advantage of the free flu vaccines that are being offered by Employee Health. It’s not too late for you to do the same.

Free flu shots are still being offered to all Texas Children’s employees, Baylor College of Medicine employees working in Texas Children’s facilities, Texas Children’s medical staff and volunteers at various events across the organization and at the Employee Health Clinic.

Staff Nurse Sarah Vining got her flu shot the second day it was being offered on The Auxiliary Bridge and said she gets the annual vaccine to protect herself, her family and the patients she serves against a potentially fatal infection.

“It’s important for our families and our patients, as well as our own families at home, to stay healthy and make sure that we’re in our best condition to take care of our patients,” Vining said. “So, get your flu shot!”

What’s in the shot?

The shot that is being offered to employees this year protects against four of the main flu viruses that research suggests will be the most common during the upcoming season.

Those viruses are:

  • Influenza A (H1N1)
  • Influenza A (H3N2)
  • Influenza B (Phuket)
  • Influenza B (Brisbane)

It takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies to develop in the body and provide protection against the flu. That’s why the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends people get vaccinated soon after the vaccine becomes available. However, as long as flu viruses are circulating in a community, it’s not too late to get vaccinated.

“Getting the flu shot is important,” said Staff Nurse Vincent Orion prior to getting his annual vaccine on The Auxiliary Bridge. “It’s protects everybody.”

How to get vaccinated

Click here to view the dates and locations for your vaccination. If you are unable to make one of these dates, please make an appointment at the Employee Health clinic, located on the fifth floor of the Abercrombie Building near the yellow elevators, after October 1. If you have questions, please call Employee Health at Ext. 4-2150. West Campus Employee Health is located on the campus’ second floor and can be reached at Ext. 7-1365.

Visitation restrictions

Based on the increasing incidence of respiratory illness, effective at 6 a.m. Thursday, October 15 Texas Children’s Hospital is instituting new visitation restrictions for the inpatient units and critical care areas. To read more about these restrictions please click here.