October 25, 2016

Angela Logan held up the sleeve of her Halloween-themed scrub and looked stoically ahead as a nurse with Employee Health & Wellness gave her an annual flu vaccine.

Logan, a certified medical assistant, said during one of Employee Health and Wellness’ recent flu vaccine events that she’s been getting the flu shot since she was 14 or 15 years old.

“My mom was a pediatric nurse and she always encouraged me to get it,” Logan said. “She told me it was to protect myself and those I love and care for both at home and at work.”

So far this flu season, Logan is one of 7,000 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 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.

Click here for flu vaccine event schedules and here to see pictures from one of the events. It is recommended that employees complete their online consent form via the Employee Health and Wellness Portal before attending a flu vaccine event – click here for instructions. However, employees are able to fill out the consent form at the events as well.

Texas Children’s provides the seasonal influenza vaccinations at no cost to:

  •  Texas Children’s employees
  •  Texas Children’s medical staff
  •  Texas Children’s volunteers
  •  Baylor College of Medicine employees working in Texas Children’s facilities
  •  Texas Children’s Pediatrics, Texas Children’s Health Centers and The Center for Women and Children will receive separate instructions from their leaders about seasonal flu vaccination.

Influenza (the flu) is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses. It can cause mild to severe illness and can even lead to death. Older people, young children, and people with certain health conditions are at high risk for serious flu complications. The best way to prevent the flu is by getting vaccinated every year.

“The benefits of not having to worry about the flu and the benefits of not having to worry about giving the flu to someone else are way better than any side effects that are common from the it,” said Dr. David Huss, a resident with the Child Neurology Program. “Your arm might be sore for a couple of days but that’s worth the cost.”

Stay tuned for updates about Texas Children’s seasonal vaccination program. If you have questions, please call Employee Health at 832-824-2150, option 1.

For more information about the flu and the flu vaccine, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website here.

June 1, 2016

52616retirementREV640Are you looking forward to retirement, or does the thought of planning for your future keep you awake at night? As part of our Total Rewards program, Texas Children’s has partnered with Fidelity Investments, our 403(b) administrator, to create various retirement services and resources that can help you kick start or fuel your retirement planning.

Take advantage of these ingredients and develop your own recipe for retirement success!

Ingredient 1: Enroll in Texas Children’s 403(b) savings plan
Don’t miss out on our 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.

Ingredient 2: Attend a retirement seminar in June
Learn how to navigate the retirement process with this 30-minute seminar so that you can establish financial goals for your future, learn tips on how to build a plan, and much more. The seminars will be hosted at multiple locations throughout our Texas Children’s campuses in June. Click here for dates, times and locations. Register today online or call 800-642-7131. Space is limited, register today to reserve a seat.

Ingredient 3: Schedule a one-on-one session with a retirement consultant
Use this opportunity to have a personal discussion about your retirement and learn how to build a plan that fits your future needs. Sessions are currently available at Main and West Campuses through the year. Space is limited, click here to register.

Ingredient 4: Participate in this online workshop – Thrive: Financial Wellness
Attend this series of online workshops at Fidelity at your own time and pace. These sessions focus on how you can save for your future, along with the tools and resources you can use to become a more educated investor. Click here to register.

This recipe yields your path to retirement success.

If you have any retirement-related questions, contact Fidelity at 800-343-0860 or visit them online at www.fidelity.com/atwork.

May 18, 2016

51816wills640Do you have a will? If not, Texas Children’s can help you draw one up during Free Wills Month in May.

To get more people to better prepare their estates for when they are gone, Texas Children’s employees and any other Houston-area residents 55 and older can have their wills written or amended free of charge by a participating local attorney. Simply call 888-786-1752 or visit www.freewillsmonth.com during the month of May to schedule an appointment.

Despite your age, it’s never too early to start thinking about the importance of wills and estate planning. Creating a will and an estate plan gives peace of mind to you as well as your family. A will written by an attorney helps ensure that your wishes are respected and that your loved ones avoid difficult decisions and legal complications. Free Wills Month makes it easy for you to provide for your family and friends, and if you wish, nonprofits organizations like Texas Children’s Hospital.

“Not only does Texas Children’s provide compassionate care for children and families, the hospital also takes care of its employees,” said Charlene Barclay, a clinical data specialist for Texas Children’s Hospital Outcomes & Impact Services who included Texas Children’s Hospital in her estate plans in 2011. “I give because I believe in Texas Children’s.”

With an estate plan, you can:

  • Provide support and financial stability for your surviving spouse, children, and grandchildren.
  • Preserve your wealth for later generations.
  • Make sure your wishes are carried out when you can no longer manage your affairs. Along with a will, it’s important to have both a power of attorney and a directive to physicians (living will).
  • Support a favorite charity or cause with a gift of money, securities, or other property.
  • Distribute assets in a timely fashion with a minimum of legal hassle.
  • Minimize taxes and expenses that can go along with transferring assets.
  • Provide enough cash to meet expenses and prevent the forced sale of assets.
  • Avoid problems for your loved ones by ensuring that the beneficiaries named on your life insurance and retirement plans are still the people you want to benefit.
  • Protect your family’s privacy with an estate plan designed to be kept private.
  • Set and meet expectations of your survivors so there is no confusion or misunderstanding.
February 23, 2016

22416CVS640Texas Children’s works hard to minimize the impact of rising health care costs to our employees. That is why we have partnered with our prescription benefits manager, CVS/caremark to bring an additional benefit. Very soon those enrolled in the Texas Children’s Medical Plan will be receiving an ExtraCare Health Card that provides savings of 20 percent on all CVS/pharmacy brand health-related items. In addition, 2 percent back in ExtraBucks rewards will be awarded when using the ExtraCare Health Card.

That is a 20 percent savings everyday on thousands of items to help you on your path to better health. Think of all the non-prescription items you use on a regular basis in which you can take advantage of these savings, such as:

  • Allergy medicines
  • Cold medicine
  • Eye drops
  • First-aid supplies
  • Pain relievers
  • Vitamins

You will be able to use your card at any CVS/pharmacy location or online at www.cvs.com. Please note, only two ExtraCare Health Cards will be mailed per household. If you already have an ExtraCare Card from CVS/pharmacy, you can simply transfer your current rewards to your new ExtraCare Health Card and start enjoying the 20 percent savings. Savings will be automatically deducted off eligible health-care items.

Don’t forget that CVS/caremark has a mail-order program that offers you deeper discounts through bulk purchasing and no dispensing fees, which mean lower out-of-pocket pharmacy costs. For more information about the benefits offered at Texas Children’s, please visit TexasChildrensBenefits.org.

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


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.