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Questions & Answers

Town Hall – May 23, 2014

David Callender, MD, MBA, FACS

President

  • Question:  ePerformance – Evaluations should be based on individual performance vs. entire department. Salary increases should be commensurate to job performance. Why doesn’t each department handle the same way?
  • Response:  Recognizing the wide range of needs for various departments, UTMB has built-in flexibility in our rewards processes. In some departments, team members collectively contribute to the overall productivity, while other departments have a more individual approach. To see Dr. Callender’s comments at the May 23 Town Hall, view the meeting video (CMC version) at the 47:09 mark.
  • Question: How can we improve on the interview process in notifying applicants in a timely manner that they did not get the job they were applying for? From my experience, no notifications were sent out to the applicant.
  • Response:  UTMB receives an average of 11,000 applications every month, which makes sending a personal message to each applicant a challenge. However, Human Resources has initiated a process improvement project to enhance communication with applicants, using automated email updates at different points in the recruitment process. They expect to see an improved notification rate by the end of this fiscal year (Aug. 31, 2014). To see more-detailed comments on this question by Dr. Ron McKinley, vice president for human resource and employee services, view the May 23 Town Hall meeting video (CMC version) at the 49:02 mark.
  • Question: We were told that new UTMB name badges would be distributed by the end of March and here we are two months later… can you advise what the issue is?
  • Response: The rebadging of students, faculty and staff is a massive undertaking that is being done primarily to upgrade the security features of the badges. (An added benefit will be that every badge will feature the current UTMB Health logo.) The Badge Office met with stakeholders throughout the university to discuss the initial implementation plan. Based on feedback from those stakeholders, the plan is being revised to ensure minimal disruption to operations while maintaining badge security during the switchover. Even with the refinements to the implementation plan, including consultation with external professionals, rebadging is expected to take place by the end of August 2014.  (UTMB Police Chief Tom Engells)

 

General Questions

  • Question:  Security cameras were installed on our departmental floor (end of the hallways) to make sure no equipment is stolen.  The cameras are programmed to record upon motion in each of the camera ranges.  Can the recorded footage be used for or against employees regarding their arrival or departure times?  Who has access to the camera footage and why? (Posted 5/8/14)
  • Response: Cameras are for the safety and security of employees and UTMB resources.  Only those law enforcement and Information Services (IS) personnel responsible for maintaining security will be viewing footage obtained by these cameras.  They are not used for management of employees in any capacity.
  • Question:  What is the maximum one can receive on a merit raise? (Posted 3/21/14)
  • Response:  Departments have a 3% pool of money to distribute to employees receiving a merit.  How much is given to each employee is based on performance.  There is no maximum or minimum for each employee but a manager cannot spend more than their total pool on merits.
  • Question:  Where can I view Town Hall and Mondays in March videos?  (Posted 3/7/14)
  • Response:  Town Hall videos may be viewed at http://www.utmb.edu/townhall/ and Mondays in March videos may be viewed at http://www.utmb.edu/mondays-in-march/.  Special video links have been created for CMC employees. 
  • Question:   Why has there been a delay in posting GEM Honorees and Winners for 2013?  Are people still being entered in the drawings?  (Posted 10/15/13)
  • Response:   There have been technical issues with the system and we are currently working to resolve them.  However, staff should be assured that they are still being entered in the drawings.  If you have any feedback or new ideas for GEM awards, please forward your suggestions to Ms. Phaedra Goffney, with Organizational Workforce & Development. 
  • Question:   A co-worker recently applied for the sick pool, but was denied because her illness was not seen as a catastrophic event. So what constitutes catastrophic? What is UTMB’s sick pool policy?  (Posted 10/7/13)
  • Response:   A sick leave pool has been established at UTMB Health to provide benefits-eligible employees with a source of additional paid leave to assist with a catastrophic illness or injury.

While a diagnosis such as cancer is considered a serious medical condition that would qualify for unpaid leave protected under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), it does not automatically ensure the employee will receive a sick leave pool award.

Withdrawals from the pool are considered on an individual basis based on medical documentation provided by a physician. This documentation is reviewed by a panel of UTMB Health professionals to determine if the illness or injury meets the criteria for a catastrophic, life-threatening condition, as defined in Texas Government Code Section 661.002 and IHOP Policy 3.5.1. An employee’s financial status has no impact on the panel’s decision to grant sick leave pool awards. 

Sick leave pool is an additional benefit offered to State employees, but it is not meant to replace short- or long-term disability insurance for income protection. Sick leave pool withdrawals are intended to cover the employee’s catastrophic period only and not his or her entire recovery period.

For more information about FMLA and the institution’s sick leave pool eligibility requirements, please contact Leave Management at (409) 747-4645.

  • Question:  The tobacco ban effective for UTMB facilities and properties, does it apply to CMC and properties rented that CMC uses? (Posted 3/18/13) 
  • Response:  If we (UTMB, CMC) rent a facility, the tobacco ban applies.  If we are in a TDCJ facility (not a rental), we do not control the facility and therefore it is at the authority of the controlling body (usually the warden). 
  • Question:  Is the EAC like the former CMC Human Development (HD) program? (Posted 3/6/13)
  • Response:  The EAC is not the same as HD.  EAC is not involved in employee coaching or training.  The EAC is simply a voice for employees and the EAC tries to help address policy issues and concerns by directing them to the appropriate responsible entity.  Generally, employees should follow their chain of command in addressing personal issues or concerns. 
  • Question:  Do you refer to the Employee Assistance Program (EAP)? (Posted 3/6/13)
  • Response: EAC will refer to the EAP if necessary but we are not in the same department. 
  • Question:  Is anyone trying to combine or thinking about combining the hard to fill part-time nursing positions within CMC? (Posted 3/6/13)
  • Response:  These are reviewed on a case-by-case basis.  Combining these positions often lead to short or absent staffing every other weekend. If there is enough justification to show that two positions can be combined and continue to meet patient care needs without compromising patient safety or quality, these are generally approved budget permitting.  

 

Mondays in March – March 3, 2014

Danny O. Jacobs, MD, MPH, FACS

Executive Vice President, Provost and Dean of the School of Medicine

  • Question: Can you explain (1) why the Faculty Compensation Committee appointed by leadership to provide faculty input regarding the compensation plan never met to discuss the compensation plan; and (2) when a report was needed to support the plan, the chair of the committee was summoned to the Provost’s office and told what to write in the report?
  • Response:  The Faculty Compensation Committee met six times in 2013 and helped develop expectations, guiding principles and fundamental tenets for the compensation plan. Input was requested from this committee as well as from work groups. Based in no small part on input from the committee, meetings were then held with Chairs, Administrative Support Group directors, faculty members and others to seek additional feedback. The input from these groups generated more than 90 modifications that were incorporated into the final document that was sent by Dr. Callender to Dr. Raymond Greenberg, UT System Executive Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs for approval. Part two of the question is not substantiated by the facts. The current committee chair did not write a report on the compensation plan and was not asked to do so. 

 

Mondays in March – March 17, 2014

Donna K. Sollenberger, MA 

Executive Vice President and Chief Executive Officer, UTMB Health System

  • Question:  According to the American Nurses Association, it is an ethical responsibility of the employee and employer to take measures to prevent fatigue so that it does not impact the patient care and outcomes. The Night Nursing Council has been facilitating quarterly health promotion events in partnership with UTMB’s health promotion team, which were very well received by the staff. It was brought to the council’s attention that although employees have been advised to step away from the work areas to take their breaks, there isn’t a place to go to, especially for the night shift.  A suggestion from employees was that leadership consider looking into providing a relaxation room for the employees with some simple exercise equipment—a place where they can take a break and also feel safe.   
  • Response:  It’s no secret – many departments across UTMB are short on break areas. Unfortunately, space is tough to come by in the John Sealy Hospital. However, there are some areas currently available for breaks and wellness.There is currently an area in Research Building 6 on the 5th floor near Patient Services. The alcove is equipped with an exercise bike and a stretch trainer. The chapel, located on the first floor of John Sealy is open all hours and offers a quiet space to relax. There is also an area just off the first floor hallway leading to the UHC building with a seating area that is rarely used but might offer the opportunity to sit, relax or to stretch and move about.In general, as renovations and new construction continue, UTMB employees can look forward to having more places to sit back and enjoy their break time—new clinics will include break areas as a requirement. In addition, plans for the new Jennie Sealy Hospital include designated employee break rooms on all floor levels.*Gerald Cleveland, Director of Health Promotions, is pleased to assist in providing equipment if/when approved spaces or rooms are identified for use as break areas.
  • Question:  I am concerned that as a leading institution, UTMB-Galveston has not yet established a program that will assist clinical employees in pursuing a higher level of education while retaining status as a full-time employee. The Work School Program, though no longer in existence, used to accommodate this need. It seems that other professionals seeking advancement have still been able to do so, either through online courses or an altered work schedule. What is being done to provide the same opportunities for clinical employees?
  • Response:  UTMB plans to implement  a School at Work approach in FY2015. Planning for this approach has already begun. There will be detailed communications at the beginning of FY2015 as we begin to roll out the program.
  • Question:   I would love to see the full webcast of Dr. Callender’s Town Hall meeting; however, due to registry restrictions, CMC employees are not able to open the link. What can be done to resolve this issue?
  • Response:  Sometimes the ability for CMC locations to access intranet links is impacted by the very limited network bandwidth available to many of the prison clinics. Information Services will be working with Dr. Owen Murray to make a request via TDCJ to the Legislature to expand the network bandwidth to support more network intensive needs such as X-ray image transfer, for example. I.S. is also working on implementing a new piece of technology that will allow what is called “multicasting”, and this will alleviate much of the network bandwidth concern. This should be available by the end of this fiscal year. In addition, a special windows media version of Town Hall meetings, as well as the Mondays in March presentations has been established for CMC viewers, accessible via the CMC internal website at http://cmc.utmb.edu/cmchome/.

 

Town Hall Meeting – October 31, 2013

Click here to see responses to submitted questions (http://www.utmb.edu/townhall/questions/3013-10-31.aspx)

 

Mondays in March – March 4, 2013

Donna K. Sollenberger, MA 

Executive Vice President and Chief Executive Officer, UTMB Health System

Click here to watch the video broadcast and hear the questions below answered (http://vimeo.com/61199174)

  • Why is there not continuing education funding for nurses?  I would like for UTMB to find funding for work study programs again for LVNs to go back to school to get a RN degree.  Can UTMB offer a student loan forgiveness program?  It would help significantly in the recruiting process and UTMB/CMC would likely gain more licensed staff members. 
  • I have been with UTMB CMC for almost five years and have been a LVN for almost 18 years.  I have not had a salary increase in the time that I have been with CMC.  I don’t want to change jobs because I do like my job but it’s getting to the point where I cannot support my family with the income I have.  
  • This issue concerns privacy when calling in to a manager to take days off.  That conversation needs to be kept private. It is wrong for management to tell other employees details. 
  • What is UTMB’s policy on Flex-Time? Is this something that the Health System supports?
  • Will the new UTMB Connect project impact patient care due to physicians having more administrative responsibilities?  Will it take doctors away from patients?
  • Recently, in the Galveston County Daily News, there was an article about the $90 million Victory Lakes Expansion project.  How is this being funded and will this project (along with the building of the new hospital) impact UTMB’s finances – risking employee job security, merit increases, etc.?  Is too much being done all at once when the economy is not in the best shape, and there is uncertainty about Health Care Reform and how hospitals and physicians will be reimbursed? 
  • It seems like lately UTMB favors recruiting from outside the organization versus promoting from within, especially in leadership positions.  Do we not have qualified people who can advance, or is there a reason for new recruits from outside?

 

Mondays in March – March 11, 2013

Danny O. Jacobs, MD, MPH, FACS

Executive Vice President, Provost and Dean of the School of Medicine

Click here to watch the video broadcast and hear the questions below answered (http://vimeo.com/61801598)

  • What is the institution’s strategy for recruiting and retaining more research faculty and growing research on campus?
  • Regarding the “culture of trust” at UTMB, how can we, as employees, be expected to trust leadership when they don’t have timely and transparent communication?  For instance, the School of Medicine underwent a massive reorganization over two months ago, and there still has not been a formal communication regarding those changes. People don’t know where they belong organizationally, and it’s unclear who is responsible for what.
  • Increases in efficiency have been cited for many departmental changes, as well as for the denial of additional positions.  Even after reorganization over the last year has moved many responsibilities from finance and HR to Institutional Support, the Office of the Provost has remained fully intact and continues to add FTEs.  When will the Office of the Provost be held to the same level of efficiency expected in other departments?
  • Recently,  individuals across the institution have been removed from their positions for not meeting minimum education requirements. However, individuals in the Provost’s Office in similar types of positions have not been removed due to educational insufficiencies. Why is there a double standard?
  • What effect will the recent sequestration have on UTMB, specifically our research enterprise?
  • Morale is at an all-time low. Employees do not trust leadership, and fear losing their jobs. What is being done to improve these conditions?
  • We have less funding, no post docs, and more clinical research.  Can we change current tenure requirements to reflect the changing research reality?

 

Mondays in March – March 18, 2013

William R. Elger, CPA, CGMA

Executive Vice President and Chief Business and Finance Officer

Click here to watch the video broadcast and hear the questions below answered (http://vimeo.com/62286244)

  • Why aren’t all application system issues/downtime/delays posted on the iUTMB Alert page? It seems that only patient related systems like Epic, and on occasion, PeopleSoft FMS are posted on the webpage. Other systems such as Oracle Workspace and its subsystems: financial reporting, etc., and HCM Datamart, as well as others, are rarely, if ever, posted to the flash page.
  • Housekeeping services continue to be a problem across campus. After repeated service calls, even to management, there has still been no improvement. Additionally, the recent changes in contractor have resulted in even worse service than Sodexo provided. In executive areas, housekeeping services are more frequent and of better quality.  Since the contract rates are most likely consistent across campus, why can’t other areas have the same attention?  Also, why aren’t the offices and corridors cleaned after hours when there is less foot traffic. It’s hazardous to be mopping floors between 8:00am to 5:00pm.  Additionally, we were informed that the non-hospital areas would no longer be cleaned over the weekend. This is problematic because non-patient care employees still work on weekends, and non-patient care buidings, such as the Annex, still get use both via corridors and in restrooms over the weekend by employees, patients, and their families. 
  • Are there plans to provide opportunities for professional development and continuing education for non-executive staff? There is no standardization across the institution and it usually depends on if you have the budget. 
  • Why can’t we have some products from the bookstore located somewhere off the island so that it is easier to purchase for the employees who work and live off the island?
  • Can we get Employee Assistance Program services off the island so that the employees that live and work off island can have easier access and take more advantage of the services they offer?
  • Can parking garages be opened, since so many student spots have been taken away due to construction?
  • Has UTMB considered revisiting the idea of flex scheduling for its employees?

 

Mondays in March – March 25, 2013

David Callender, MD, MBA, FACS

President

Click here to watch the video broadcast and hear the questions below answered  (http://vimeo.com/62833674)

  • Work-life balance, telecommuting and flex-time are hot topics in the workplace. What is UTMB doing to help with this?
  • Are there areas being planned in the new Jennie Sealy Hospital for employees to have a quiet place to take their break? There is not enough space in John Sealy Tower.
  • Is there a better way to schedule an 8-hour unit where nurses do not have to work 7 days straight without overtime in order to have every other weekend off? Who has priority over the schedule: full-time or part-time employees?  Why is it that you can’t change your days if you need a day off?
  • Prior to Ike, UTMB had on-site child care available for its employees. What needs to happen to bring this back?