September 29, 2015

93015brighthoriz640When Employee Medical Clinic and Wellness Manager Julie Griffith learned her nanny would be gone a week due to a family emergency she turned to Bright Horizon’s back-up care for help.

After filling out a few forms, Griffith breathed a sigh of relief and drove her son, Cameron, downtown to the temporary child care provider’s flagship facility where trained professionals greeted them with smiles, assurances and even a “Welcome” sign.

“I was very impressed with my entire experience, which allowed me to be fully present at work knowing that my child was being well cared for,” Griffith said. “I would highly recommend taking full advantage of the Bright Horizon’s back-up child care benefit to all employees.”

What is the Back-Up Care Advantage Program?

As part of our Total Rewards benefits, Texas Children’s partners with Bright Horizons to provide temporary back-up care at low cost. Employees can access up to 80 hours of family back-up care every calendar year. Standard copays are $2 per child per hour for center-based care or $4 per hour for in-home care for any age (for up to three people), but for the month of October, there is no copay. We are offering our Back-Up Care Advantage Program at no cost for Texas Children’s benefits-eligible employees during October.

By accessing this benefit, you do not have to take personal time off or miss work when:

  • Your regular caregiver is unavailable or on vacation
  • Your children’s schools are closed for holidays or teacher in-service days
  • You are transitioning back to work from parental leave
  • Your parent or adult loved one needs care in their home – anywhere throughout the U.S.

How do I participate in this program?

You must be registered before using the program and reservations are required. Requests for care can be made one month in advance or up to the day care is needed. Please note, there are some required forms needed prior to use of back-up care. We encourage employees to register for the Back-Up Care Advantage Program in advance of first-time use.

First-time users can register via one of the following options:


  • Username = TexasChildrens
  • Password = backup1

Phone: 877-242-2737

  • Customer Service is available 24 hours/7 days a week.

Please call Total Rewards at Ext. 4-2421 Option 1.

We hope you can take advantage of this program during the month October as well as throughout the year.

September 22, 2015

Texas Children’s is committed to the health, safety and well-being of our patients, families and workforce. This commitment is especially evident as we enter flu season, a time when people – especially the elderly, children and those with health problems – are at risk of contracting an infection that can cause mild to severe illness, or in some cases, even death.

The best way to prevent the flu is by getting vaccinated every year. Texas Children’s makes that process easy by offering free flu shots to all Texas Children’s employees, Baylor College of Medicine employees working in Texas Children’s facilities, Texas Children’s medical staff and volunteers.

Employee Health currently is administering free flu vaccinations to these populations at various events at Main and West campuses, the first few of which are occurring September 22, 24 and 29 from 6:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on The Auxiliary Bridge. Leaders from Texas Children’s Pediatrics, Texas Children’s Health Centers and The Center for Women and Children will inform their staff about flu shot details.

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 Thursday, 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.

Last year, Texas Children’s achieved a 90 percent vaccination rate. We want to reach or exceed that rate this year. As a reminder, employees should be in compliance by Tuesday, December 1. Additional information about our vaccination policy and procedures can be found here and here.

Leaders can run reports for their area(s) via the Health and Wellness portal. Individuals who would like to view and/or print their immunization records can click here for instructions on how to access that portal.

Thank you for helping to safeguard the wellness of our patients, families, community and workforce by getting your seasonal influenza vaccination,” said Jill Fragoso, director of Employee Health and Wellness. “It’s quick and easy, and it’s simply the right thing to do.”

Stay tuned for updates about Texas Children’s seasonal vaccination program.


September 15, 2015

91615retirementinside350Did you know you are eligible to enroll in the Texas Children’s Hospital 403(b) Savings Plan? It’s a great benefit and an easy, disciplined way to save for retirement. Making even a small contribution each pay period can really add up over time.

Perhaps your situation has changed since you first learned about the organization’s retirement program or maybe you just need a quick reminder. Either way, here are a few reasons to enroll in the 403(b) Savings Plan today:

The more you prepare now, the more comfortable your future will be when you retire. If you have a personal retirement plan, you will be less dependent on the government’s social security retirement benefit program, the future solvency of which is unknown.

Texas Children’s will match up to 50 percent of the first 6 percent of your pay per pay period, helping you boost your retirement savings and reach your goals faster. The maximum per pay period employer contribution is the lesser of 3 percent of your gross salary or 50 percent of your contribution.

Need another reason to enroll? The sooner you begin saving, the more time your money has for potential growth. For example, an employee with a $20,000 annual salary who is contributing 6 percent of their earnings to the 403(b) Savings Plan could save $117,000 in 30 years versus $50,000 in 20 years, assuming a 7 percent annual rate of return.

You are always 100 percent vested in your contributions to the plan as well as any earnings on them. Texas Children’s matching contributions and any earnings vest according to the following schedule:

  • 1 year of vesting service – 20 percent vested
  • 2 years – 40 percent
  • 3 years – 60 percent
  • 4 years – 80 percent
  • 5 years – 100 percent

You are eligible to receive your vested earnings when you retire or leave Texas Children’s.

To enroll in the Fidelity-managed 403(b) Savings Plan, click here or call 800-343-0860. It only takes 60 seconds! To track your earnings, go to
For more information, schedule your on campus in person investment review with a Fidelity representative, call 800-642-7131, Monday – Friday 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. Central Time or go online at You also can call a Fidelity Workplace Planning and Guidance Consultant at 866-711-0352.

Thank you for exemplifying our core values, especially Embracing Freedom – with freedom comes opportunity. Boundless, wide open and unknown, it can be daunting to some, but we recognize the potential in the unexplored and venture forward, blazing our own trail in the name of care.

July 28, 2015

72915sportsteams640Once a week, Christie Hollins, an administrative assistant in the Department of Pathology, meets three of her coworkers at Palace Lanes for a fun night of bowling and comradery.

“We’ve been bowling together for five years and it’s great,” Hollins said of her team, Scared SpitLess. “We’ve grown as bowlers and as friends, and we thank Texas Children’s for making this happen.”

Like several other Texas Children’s employees, Hollins and her bowling team take advantage of the Total Rewards Program’s Team Sport Subsidy, which provides financial support for the registration fees of league team activities.

The organization will pay up to $600 per team per fiscal year as long as at least half of the team’s roster is comprised of Texas Children’s employees.

“Texas Children’s recognizes that fitness is important to the physical and mental health of its employees,” Benefits Specialist Kelly Mueller said. “Therefore, we encourage participation in organized, league athletic events such as softball, basketball, bowling, golf, etc.”

Racheal Proctor-Ezimako, a supervisor with Diagnostic Imaging, said she and her bowling team have used the sports subsidy for six years and that it allows them to offset the cost of a hobby they participate in once a week year round.

“I think it’s an amazing give back to our employees,” she said. “We get to bond outside work and that, to me, is very special.”

Hollins agreed and said with the assistance of the subsidy, each of her team members is able to just have fun bowling.

“As long as the subsidy is offered, I will continue to apply,” she said.

72915sportsteamssinside640Mueller said Texas Children’s is happy to provide the subsidy as well as the myriad of other benefits offered to employees, including health, dental, retirement and pension.

“Texas Children’s offers a well-rounded benefits program that spans from health to financial to overall wellbeing,” she said. “We want our employees to be healthy and happy.”

Here are the sports subsidy basics and how to apply:

  1. A written application must be submitted to Human Resources at least one month prior to the due date of the registration fee. The application must include a copy of the Texas Children’s registration form and a list of all team participants, including non-Texas Children’s players.
  2. All team participants must sign and return the appropriate waiver form with the written application.
  3. Texas Children’s financial support is provided for team registration only and does not cover fees or payment for coaches, uniforms, refreshments, etc.
  4. The maximum annual registration payment is $600 per fiscal year per team. Payment will be issued directly to the sponsoring organization. Requests will be granted based on budgetary constraints.
  5. The roster of any team sponsored by Texas Children’s must consist of at least 50 percent active employees of Texas Children’s.
  6. Participation on an athletic team is voluntary, and is not related in any way to an employee’s job duties or employment status at Texas Children’s.
  7. Each individual team member agrees to hold Texas Children’s, its officers, trustees, employees and agents harmless from any claims for damages resulting in participation in this program.
  8. To apply for a sport subsidy, click here. To get more information about overall benefits at Texas Children’s click here.
July 14, 2015

71515PFWmassages640As a neonatal nurse at Texas Children’s Newborn Center, Brittany Gonzalez spends most of her day on her feet doing what she loves – taking care of sick infants in the neonatal intensive care unit.

“At the end of my 13-hour shift, my feet are tired,” Gonzalez said. “When I get massages, it soothes my sore muscles and helps me relax. Even if it’s just for a few minutes, the effects are long lasting.”

Like Gonzalez, Texas Children’s and Baylor College of Medicine employees are taking advantage of massage therapy at the Bella Luna Boutique on the third floor of Texas Children’s Pavilion for Women. While these services cost a fee and require an appointment, the feeling of complete relaxation keeps employees coming back.

“I can clear my mind, listen to relaxing music and mentally drift away,” said Vickie Broussard, an employee development coordinator in the Facilities Operations Department. “The more I do it, the better I feel, and the longer the good feeling lasts with repeated sessions.”

Massage therapy helps Derek Blaylock unwind from the stressful challenges of balancing responsibilities at home with his job duties as a Texas Children’s patient and family advocate.

“It brings me to a place that’s relaxing and healing all at the same time,” Blaylock said. “It also helps me become more aware of my own body which can lead me to improved posture and the desire to exercise more and ultimately work and stress less.”

As a board-certified massage therapist at Texas Children’s, Candace Heredia says massage therapy is not a luxury, but something our bodies need regularly to improve emotional, mental and physical well-being.

When we’re stressed, our bodies release a stress hormone called cortisol. Regular massages reduce production of this stress hormone and increase production of dopamine and serotonin – the hormones that make us feel good, resulting in an endless list of soothing health benefits.

“A single massage session can increase energy levels, improve blood circulation and enhance mental and physical performance,” Heredia said. “Other health benefits include reducing lower back pain and fluid retention during pregnancy, strengthening the immune system and improving rehabilitation after injury.”

Since taking advantage of massage therapy at the Pavilion for Women, Texas Children’s Cardiology Chief Dr. Daniel Penny notices immediate relief from his chronic back pain.

“I’ve had a number of major back operations over the past few years,” Penny said. “There is nothing better to ease my back spasms than scheduling a massage appointment with Candace.”

Aside from these services, Heredia maintains a pretty busy schedule. She also performs massage therapy for Texas Children’s inpatients and outpatients after receiving written consent from their physician, provides massages during employee wellness events, and teaches infant massage classes to ease colic in newborns and promote parental bonding.

“It’s very rewarding to see employees, patients and their families benefit from massage therapy,” Heredia said. “It’s all about improving their quality of life and helping them achieve a healthier lifestyle.”

Need a relaxing massage? For more information about the Pavilion for Women’s Massage Services, click here. A half-hour massage is $45 and one hour is $75. Chair massages also are available for $1 per minute up to 15 minutes.

To schedule an appointment with Candace Heredia, call Ext. 6-2556 and to sign up for the next infant massage class, click here.

June 23, 2015

62415newshuttles640Everybody likes getting a new vehicle. The whole experience – from the new-car smell and shiny gadgets to the sleek paint job and smooth ride – is exciting.

On Monday, June 29, the entire Texas Children’s family will get to have such an experience when six of our 12 new shuttles are rolled out sporting colorful designs and several innovative features.

“We are very excited about this new capability for Texas Children’s,” said Director of Supply Chain Rick McFee. “We think you will be too.”

The first thing people will notice about the new shuttles is the outside of them, McFee said. All 12 will be bright, bold colors and graphics with designs of clouds, fish, flowers or blades of grass.

“The wraps share the excitement we all have to work for Texas Children’s Hospital,” McFee said. “They also share a bit of the spirit we have when it comes to healing sick children and taking care of women.”

A not-so-obvious feature the buses will have is an environmentally-friendly fueling system. Instead of using diesel, all 12 shuttles will be fueled by propane. Switching to this much cleaner-burning gas will reduce our carbon footprint by 70 percent and make Texas Children’s Hospital the first hospital in the Medical Center to offer completely green-friendly shuttle service.

Some of the features inside the shuttles include:

  • A comprehensive security system that will keep employees safe and will record how many people get on and off the shuttle.
  • On-board video capabilities will give Texas Children’s another avenue to share important information.
  • A voice announcement system will keep riders up to date about where the shuttle is and where it’s headed.
  • USB charging ports will be available at each seat for riders who need to charge their phone or other electronic devices.

All buses will be equipped with GPS technology, allowing riders to connect to an Internet link that will tell them where a bus is, when it’s going to arrive and how long it will be until the next stop.

McFee said the GPS technology will give Texas Children’s management the opportunity to monitor the shuttles’ movements and to adjust accordingly based on ridership activity. As for now, however, all routes will stay the same.

The remaining six larger shuttles in the fleet will be on the road in late summer.

“Welcome aboard!” McFee said. “We are glad to have you on our new shuttles.”

June 9, 2015


Fetal Center nurse Laura Mollett finally is getting the smile of her dreams, thanks to Texas Children’s discounted orthodontia services for employees.

Mollett, a nurse in the Fetal Center, had braces when she was young but they weren’t maintained properly and her teeth shifted. As an adult, she often thought about getting her teeth corrected but knew she didn’t have the time to make the regular appointments.

That changed when she learned Texas Children’s offers discounted orthodontia services in house to its employees. Mollett said she saw a flier about the services at a bridge event and called immediately. She got an appointment shortly afterward and is well on her way to having straight teeth again.

“It’s a wonderful program,” Mollett said. “In addition to the cost savings, it’s convenient. They get you in and out really fast because they know how important it is to get you back to work.”

Beginning in January, Texas Children’s began offering traditional braces and Invisalign at a discounted price to all employees, regardless of whether they are enrolled in the organization’s dental coverage. The services cannot be claimed under the dental plan or any other insurance plan, however eligible out-of-pocket expenses can be reimbursed through the Healthcare FSA.

Total out-of-pocket costs for these discounted services are:

  • Traditional braces: $3,000
  • Invisalign: $3,500

Dr. John Wirthlin, a craniofacial orthodontist on Texas Children’s cleft lip and palate team, leads the orthodontia program and said an added bonus to the discount is the convenience on-site orthodontia services offers to the patient.

“You would have to take a half a day off a month if you received services off campus,” Wirthlin said. “If you get your services here, all you have to do is walk over to the Clinical Care Center.”

The Orthodontic Clinic is located on the eighth floor of the Clinical Care Center.

For more information on this program, please call Ext. 2-3920 or email