TOWN HALL QUESTIONS and ANSWERS:
February 14, 2014

The following questions were received via the Town Hall website or Employee Advisory Council website, but there was not enough time to address them at the Feb. 14, 2014, meeting. Some questions have been edited for length.

Click the questions to expand the answers.

  • Q. The Fair Labor Standards Act requires employers to pay overtime-eligible employees for time outside of work when they read emails, etc. So, how can UTMB require nursing to complete CCAPs on their own time outside of work and not receive reimbursement?

    A. In October 2013, UTMB revised its Nurse Competency and Clinical Advancement Program (“CCAP”) Policy. The new policy requires all RNs to complete CCAP on duty and on site, with pay. If completing the CCAP requirement entails overtime, the overtime must be pre-approved by the employee’s manager.

  • Q. During the time prior to potential inclement weather, I would like to suggest that senior leadership make a decision further in advance of the potential event…and allow everyone to make necessary arrangements in both their professional life and personal life. I believe this would go a long way in letting everyone know that leadership does really care about us. This could manifest itself in the results of the You Count Survey.

    A. Please view Dr. Callender’s answer via Town Hall video.

  • Q. I would like to know why Correctional Managed Care (CMC) nurses are not eligible for hazardous duty pay.

    A. By state law, nurses do not meet the statutory requirements to be eligible for hazardous duty pay.

  • Q. Effective September 2013, all CMC employees received an across-the-board 4% raise. Later the wording was changed from raise to merit. A merit raise is a raise based on an individual's performance and job evaluation. The 4% raise made up for 5 years of not receiving an increase, but it does not reflect an individual's job performance, accomplishments and dedication to their work. Are there any negotiations with Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) related to a CMC Merit raise? When can CMC employees expect a real merit raise?

    A. The September 2013 increase was a merit raise. Some individuals called the raise an “across-the-board” increase because everyone received the same percentage. However, that was not the intent, nor was the increase coded that way. The decision to give all CMC employees the same percentage was because it had been so long since any merit had been given. Performance was considered in situations where recent disciplinary action delayed the increase until improvement was demonstrated. Funding for the increase came from TDCJ and there are no plans at this time for another increase within this fiscal year.

  • Q. Regarding leave request policies, there is not one stating when the response from the supervisor should be given. Would it be possible in the very near future to have such a policy written? Also, much of the time we are denied any leave due to constant poor staffing and are told to get our own replacement. If we give sufficient notice, should we be denied due to poor staffing?

    A. Policies do not state a time limit for managers to approve leave requests because managers need to be able to respond to changing staffing situations within their department. That said, Human Resources encourages managers to give employees answers as soon as possible and to allow use of accrued leave whenever possible. Staffing is something that managers must consider when approving time off. Employees may contact Human Resources if they have concerns about how leave requests are being handled in individual areas. We will be happy to look into the situation and assist managers in finding the best solution.

  • Q. With the way that the Affordable Care Act is set up, does our health care plan equate to the Cadillac plan (most expensive plan) and, if so, will we lose some of our health care benefits? And will Obamacare affect the way CMC delivers/provides care to the offender population? Will the cost of care increase?

    A. Please view Dr. Callender’s answer via Town Hall video.

  • Q. As a CMC employee, sometimes I feel there is a disconnection with UTMB even though we are part of UTMB. We do not have access to many of the employee perks that UTMB has to offer. We often do not feel like a valued member of the UTMB team due to this. Is there any plan in the works to correct this?

    A. Efforts have been under way to improve this gap. One specific example is the inclusion of CMC employees in the flu vaccination program. Also Executive Vice President and CEO Donna Sollenberger, Vice President and COO Deb McGrew and Employee Advisory Council (EAC) members have made several recent visits to CMC facilities (and have future visits planned) in an effort to reach out to CMC employees and recognize them for the valuable service they provide.

    The return of the CMC annual meeting, Employee Recognition Awards, and senior leadership facility rounding program are all steps to improve communication and acknowledgement of CMC employees.

    Ms. Sollenberger visited several Huntsville units, include Walls, Estelle and CMC Pharmacy, last October. She is slated to visit CMC facilities in Sugarland this spring. As of November 2013, Health System sends the Friday Focus newsletter to all CMC employees, who are encouraged to send messages when they have questions or have news to share. CMC news is included in the newsletter and submissions are always welcome. Leadership continues to look at ways to improve CMC inclusion in campus programs.

    Also, Dr. Owen Murray hosted a series of CMC town halls statewide during July, and Employee Advisory Council hosted an “Engage and Chat” at Jester facilities in Richmond last May. EAC members are planning to visit Skyview and Hodge units in February, and Estelle and Walls units in Huntsville in June.

  • Q. Is there any recourse when a CMC employee feels the supervisor is being unfair in reference to time off for medical appointments?

    A. You may contact Human Resources to assist you.

  • Q. 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?

    A. 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.