June 2, 2015


EAP---INFO4---300One of the hardest times in Wanda Davis’ life came more than a decade ago when she learned her mother had been diagnosed with a terminal illness.

From that moment until her mother’s death 10 years later, Davis, a human resources manager at West Campus, became her mother’s primary care giver. During that time, Davis took her mother to hundreds of doctor appointments, she spent hours coordinating her mother’s medical care, and she tried to come to terms with the fact that her mother, who was suffering from kidney disease, could pass at any time.

All of this took a toll on Davis, who said she began to lose focus at work and struggled to get things done.

“I felt like I was spinning,” she said. “I wasn’t myself.”

Davis’ leader at the time noticed she was going through a tough time and suggested she reach out to the Employee Assistance Program (EAP), which offers confidential, professional services to assist employees in solving personal difficulties affecting their personal lives and work.

Davis took her leader’s advice and started weekly counseling sessions that ended up helping her more than she could have ever imagined. After her mother passed in 2009, Davis completed a grief support program offered by EAP.

“I don’t know where I would be today without EAP,” Davis said. “I learned so much from them and still use the techniques they taught me.”

Davis is one of many Texas Children’s employees EAP helps each year. A recent impact study measuring the department’s outcomes shows EAP has a significant impact on workplace performance. Based on four years of self-reported data collected from employees who have used EAP counseling services, the study found:

  • Absenteeism is down by 53 percent
  • Presenteeism is up by 25 percent
  • Life satisfaction is up by 19 percent
  • Work distress is down by 5 percent

“It is clear from the data that the EAP continually provides services that have a positive impact on worker productivity,” said EAP Program Manager Brent LoCaste-Wilken. “Of particular note is the significant influence on absenteeism.”

The 53 percent improvement is 7 percent higher than 20 other EAP providers in medium to large companies. In addition, it translates into an annual savings of more than 18,000 hours and almost $616,000.

Work presenteeism measures whether an employee is working at his or her optimum. Recent research indicates that losses due to poor presenteeism rival that of medical claims. The impact study shows that the EAP improved people’s concentration and productivity by 25 percent.

Life satisfaction is a general measurement of an employee’s general sense of wellbeing. EAP participants reported that they were significantly more satisfied with their life after coming to the EAP than prior to receiving EAP services. This measurement helps to enhance employee appreciation for Texas Children’s and is speculated to positively affect employee longevity and loyalty.

Work distress measures an employee’s feelings of distress about being at work. Although the impact study did not show a huge change, it does indicate that the EAP is making somewhat of an impact in this area.

“We are very pleased with the results of the study,” LoCaste-Wilken said. “We feel it shows our services are valued by our employees and are valuable to the organization as a whole.”

On average, EAP staff spends almost two hours with almost 1,000 clients each year. The EAP helps with problems such as:

  • Family/relationship issues
  • Workplace concerns
  • Alcohol and drug problems
  • Personal and emotional difficulties
  • Health and behavioral issues
  • Critical incident stress
  • Legal and financial referrals

Let the EAP help you carry out Texas Children’s values of embracing freedom, living compassionately, amplifying unity and leading tirelessly. Contact the EAP via Connect or call (832) 824-3327 for more information.

April 28, 2015


Infographic3-300x494We care for our patients and their families by doing all we can to make their experience here as best it can be. For most of our patient families, that experience begins with something that should be relatively simple – convenient parking.

However, patient families and visitors often are unable to find parking in our garages, partly because our employees are occupying spaces that have been designated for them. There also are a number of employees who use the valet services intended for our patient families.

Using the limited parking reserved for our patient families is counter to the experience we strive to provide them. It also disregards Texas Children’s Parking Policy, which states that employees “may not pull a coin to park or use valet parking services in Texas Children’s Hospital garages 12, 16 or 21 when acting in their capacity as an employee. By doing so, an employee may be subject to disciplinary action.”

Security will be conducting random monitoring to identify employees who are parking in these garages. When a violating employee is identified, Security will send a letter to the employee and his or her director to take corrective action.

Remember, employees can park for free in Garage 19 on Greenbriar Drive. They also can use dependable, comfortable transit to and from that garage to the Main Campus facilities. We are introducing new shuttles with more amenities this spring.

Having a dedicated employee parking garage and transit system provides you with a convenient alternative to the limited parking on the Main Campus, which is the only option for our patient families and visitors. So please, help us create a better experience for them by parking in the designated employee garage so that finding parking is the least of our patient families’ concerns when they are here. It’s a simple step that could have a lasting impact on a family’s experience with us.

March 17, 2015


Click on the graphic for a larger view.

Did you know that Texas Children’s is contributing to your retirement right now?

Unlike many other organizations, Texas Children’s offers employees both a fully funded Cash Balance Pension Plan and a 403 (b) plan with match dollars. The organization recently posted its 2014 deposit into the Cash Balance Pension Plan, which Texas Children’s pays the full cost of and you are automatically enrolled in 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.

To see how much your Cash Balance Pension Plan has grown, log in to Mercer’s website at www.ibenefitcenter.com. The website has useful tools that allow you to 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.

In addition to the Cash Balance Pension Plan, Texas Children’s offers a 403 (b) plan. If you are not already enrolled in the plan, you should consider doing so. You don’t 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.

It is never too early to start saving for retirement. The Texas Children’s benefits team encourages you to take advantage of all the retirement benefits our organization offers.

“Investing in our people with competitive retirement and other benefits helps Texas Children’s attract, support and retain top talent like you,” said Jim Cuva, assistant director of Human Resources. “That’s why we are committed to your financial well-being.”

December 2, 2014


Need a few minutes to unwind? We at Texas Children’s have got you covered.

The organization understands that to lead tirelessly, you must be healthy and strong. Therefore, we are committed to supporting your health and well-being by offering opportunities for wellness in the workplace. That’s why the Employee Health and Wellness team has partnered with Integrated Health, Inc., a Houston-based health and wellness company, to offer free 10-minute chair massages to Texas Children’s Hospital badge-holders.

The massages will be performed by licensed massage therapists at different locations throughout the organization. This wellness perk will be offered December 3 through Saturday, December 13. As a courtesy to your co-workers, please sign up for only one massage. Most locations encourage appointments, yet walk-ins might be accepted if a therapist is free. A few select sites and times will be walk-in only, with massages offered on a first-come, first-serve basis.

How do I schedule my 10-minute chair massage?

  • Click here to access the Appointment Scheduler and create an account. Please opt to create an account even if you participated last year. The process takes approximately two minutes.
  • Select your preferred site and date on the calendar.
  • Select an appointment time and mark your calendar.
  • You will receive a reminder email 24 hours prior to your massage.
  • Please arrive five minutes prior to your appointment to sign a consent form.

Scheduling details for employees with Texas Children’s Pediatrics, Health Centers and Facilities Operations will be provided by their leadership. Click here for the full schedule of available times and locations as well as Frequently Asked Questions, including how to cancel or reschedule your appointment. For all other questions, please contact Integrated Health, Inc. at therapeutic@ihiwellness.com.

Thank you for leading tirelessly and helping Texas Children’s advance health care. We hope you will accept this small gift and treat yourself to a massage.

November 11, 2014


The enrollment period for 2015 benefits ends Friday, November 14, so you better sign up fast.

If you know what you want, sign up for your 2015 benefits online at My Online Information or MOLI. If you are still debating on which health benefits to sign up for next year, go to our new employee benefits website and use Decision Direct, an interactive tool that gives you tips on which plan works best for you and your family.

When you access Decision Direct, you’ll be guided through a series of questions related to your health care preferences and how much you use and pay for health care during a year’s time. Once you’ve answered the questions, the tool will provide you with advice on which medical plan might be best for you.

Other tools and resources on the employee benefits website can help you estimate the cost of your prescription drugs and find a provider in your network. You also can compare the rates of the different health plans and learn about what each one has to offer.

If you still are unsure about which plan to sign up for or if you need assistance in the enrollment process, representatives from Human Resources will be offering their help from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thursday, November 13, on The Auxiliary Bridge. On the last day of the enrollment period, Friday, November 14, the Total Rewards Main Phone Line at Ext. 4-2421 will be staffed from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

If you want to change plans or coverage levels, or if you want to participate in the Flexible Spending Account, you’ll need to elect your benefits during the enrollment period. If you don’t actively enroll during that time, your current medical, dental and other benefits will automatically carry over next year. Flexible Spending Account participation does not carry over from one year to the next, so you will need to reenroll.

November 4, 2014


The clock is ticking on this year’s 2015 benefits enrollment period, and with only 10 days left, it’s time to make a decision about the coverage you want for you and your family.

Enrollment ends on Friday, November 14. If you want to change plans or coverage levels, or if you want to participate in the Flexible Spending Account, you’ll need to elect your benefits during the enrollment period. If you don’t actively enroll during that time, your current medical, dental and other benefits will automatically carry over next year. Flexible Spending Account participation does not carry over from one year to the next, so you will need to reenroll.

Here are some questions and answers that hopefully will help you make the best decisions about your health insurance.

Where do I get more information about benefits?

Visit www.texaschildrens.org/mybenefits to learn more about your 2015 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 plan might work best for you and your family. Decision Direct is available at www.decisionsupportsuite.com/texaschildrenshospital.

Is the most expensive medical plan the best plan available?

Not necessarily. What’s “best” is based on the amount of coverage you and your family actually need. For example, if you enroll in the EPO or PPO option next year but don’t use a lot of health care services or take a lot of prescription medications, you may pay for more coverage than you need. The key is to consider your “total” medical plan costs for next year. That’s how much you contribute from your paycheck and how much you anticipate spending throughout the year combined.

Is one medical plan option better than another?

No. One medical plan option isn’t necessarily “better” than another. They’re designed to give you choices so you can find the option that makes sense for your and your family’s situation. Remember to take your total costs into consideration, which includes what you pay out of your paycheck and what you pay out of your pocket when you receive care (deductibles, coinsurance, copays). For example, if you select the EPO or PPO, you’ll pay more up front in payroll contributions and generally pay less during the year when you need care. With the CPP, you’ll pay less up front in payroll contributions and generally pay more when you need care during the year (but can use money in your HRA).

Are the same services covered by all the medical plan options?

The services that the CPP, EPO and PPO cover through BCBS are identical. They are just covered at different levels. You can find specific plan coverage details in your enrollment guide.

How does the CPP work?

The CPP saves you money up front with lower payroll contributions. You must meet an annual deductible for medical and prescription drug expenses before the plan begins to pay benefits. You will have an HRA account you can access to help satisfy out-of-pocket expenses such as the deductible, coinsurance, and/or other eligible expenses. Once you meet the annual deductible, you pay 20 percent of in-network medical and prescription drug costs until you reach the annual out-of-pocket maximum. Then the plan pays 100 percent of eligible expenses for the rest of the plan year. You have the option to open a Flexible Spending Account (FSA) along with your HRA, into which you can deposit $2,500 out of your check to help pay for your expenses. If you do open an FSA, using your debit card will allow those funds to be used first to pay for services to meet your deductible before the funds will be paid out of your HRA.

How does the CPP encourage informed and smart health care behavior?

Low payroll contributions on the front end and higher deductibles on the back end help you think before you use health care services – like deciding whether to go to an Urgent Care Clinic rather than the Emergency Room (ER) for a sinus infection. This type of plan promotes better decision-making around health care use, which in turn drives down costs.

I want to improve my health in 2015. What other programs are being offered?

You can kick-start your healthy 2015 by receiving your annual physical at the Employee Medical Clinic. Preventive care is covered by all three medical plans at no cost to you and subsequent visits are only $10! Employee Health and Wellness can also support you in achieving your well-being goals through various wellness programs including tobacco cessation programs, chronic condition management, health coaching, and engaging wellness activities. An exciting new offering is that tobacco cessation prescriptions and over the counter treatments are now covered at 100 percent with a prescription. Contact the Employee Medical Clinic at Ext. 4-2150 for a same-day appointment and wellness program details.

October 28, 2014



Preparation is key to making the best decisions about health insurance, life insurance and retirement for you and your family.

To help you plan for annual benefits enrollment, there is a new employee benefits website you can visit to learn about your 2015 benefit options. That website can be found here and includes an interactive tool called Decision Direct that gives you tips on which plan works best for you and your family.

There also will be a Benefits and Wellness Fair from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday, October 30 on The Auxiliary Bridge. Representatives from at least 15 vendors, including Blue Cross Blue Shield, Fidelity and Prudential, will be present to provide you with information and answer any questions you might have about next year’s benefits package. There also will be prizes and giveaways, so don’t miss out on this exciting event.

Another tool that will aid you in the decision-making process is the newsletter mailed to your home last week. The publication highlights your benefit options and some changes for 2015. It also provides information on tools that can help make the enrollment process simple and successful.

In addition to the benefits fair, there will be several opportunities during the upcoming weeks to ask questions about the 2015 benefits package and to enroll in whatever plan you choose. Human resource representatives will be visiting various departments throughout the organization and will have information and enrollment booths set up in high-traffic areas throughout the enrollment period.

Enrollment this year for 2015 benefits is from Thursday, October 30 through Friday, November 14. If you want to change plans or coverage levels, or if you want to participate in the Flexible Spending Account, you’ll need to elect your benefits during the enrollment period. If you don’t actively enroll during that time, your current medical, dental and other benefits will automatically carry over next year. Flexible Spending Account participation does not carry over from one year to the next, so you will need to reenroll.
Some of the changes to the 2015 benefits package include:

Medical and Prescription Drug Coverage

  • Additional Plan Option: Texas Children’s is introducing the Consumer Plus Plan (CPP), a consumer-directed health plan that includes a health reimbursement account (HRA) funded by Texas Children’s.
  • Increased EPO Expenses: An annual deductible will be introduced for both individual and family coverage under the EPO, and your coinsurance for services will increase to 10 percent.
  • Prescription Drug Coinsurance: Coinsurance will now apply to brand-name prescription drugs purchased under the EPO and PPO plans. All three plans will have a copay for generic drugs.
  • Premium Changes: Some employees with children enrolled in the PPO and EPO plans will see a decrease in premiums. Premiums will increase for employees who are enrolling only themselves in one of the plans.

Dental Plans

  • Reduced Dental Premiums: Dental rates will be 5 percent lower in 2015, regardless of the plan or coverage tier you select.
  • Discounted Orthodontia: Discounted orthodontia will now be available onsite from Dr. John Wirthlin, including traditional braces and Invisalign for adults. These services will be available to all employees, regardless of whether they enroll in dental plan coverage.

Eligible Dependents

  • Domestic partners and their children will be eligible for coverage under our benefits plans. This coverage includes both same-sex and opposite-sex partners, whether under legally married or common-law relationships.