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2013 AARP Best Employers

The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center


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Industry: Hospitals/Health Care         Location: Houston        Website:     

Winning Years: 2013, 2011, 2009, 2007, 2006, 2005

Highlights of 2013 Winning Strategies

MD Anderson provides numerous health care savings benefits to its employees and retirees. Medical premiums are paid at 100 percent for full-time employees, flexible spending accounts (FSAs) are offered and employees are given a $15/month WorkLife Choice Award for participating in the FSA. Retirees receive free medical and prescription premiums, and are eligible to purchase additional life insurance, dental, vision and long-term care insurance at group rates. Retirees stay connected with the health care system through the MD Anderson Retiree Association.

Additional Policies and Practices

  • Recruiting: MD Anderson uses senior placement agencies to target mature workers and retirees. Retirees are also recruited from the military, federal, state and local law enforcement agencies, and state organizations.

  • Workplace Culture/Continued Opportunities: MD Anderson employees working 20-plus hours per week are eligible for tuition reimbursement, certification classes, continuing education for nurses and faculty (CEU and CME credits), and reimbursement of professional membership dues. In-house classroom training and online training are offered to all employees. During a recent 12-month period, 99 percent of employees participated in at least one of the training opportunities with an average of 20 hours spent in training. Long-service anniversaries are celebrated with announcements, parties, gifts and awards. In response to employee opinion survey requests, MD Anderson launched an institution-wide mentoring program. Employees have opportunities to gain new experiences by working on temporary assignments in other departments, on team projects, and by having access to formal job rotation and mentoring programs. Accommodations made for employees include the installation of automatic door openers and handrails, and providing specialized audio equipment to control background noise for an employee with hearing impairment.
  • Benefits/Health: Employees working 20-plus hours per week receive individual and family medical coverage, individual and family prescription drug coverage, individual and family vision and dental insurance, and individual and family long-term care insurance, as well as short- and long-term disability. Health benefits for retirees pre-65 and retirees age 65-plus include individual and spouse medical and prescription drug coverage, individual and spouse vision and dental insurance, individual and spouse long-term care insurance, the services of an Employee Assistance Program (EAP), as well as individual and spouse life insurance or other death benefit coverage. New hires are eligible for all of the above benefits upon retirement. Wellness benefits offered to full- and part-time employees include flu shots, health screenings, health risk appraisals, smoking cessation programs, on-site fitness center, nutritional education, health club discounts, physical activity and weight loss programs, parenting courses, a working mother’s room, on-site massage, and stress management training. Fifty percent of MD Anderson employees utilized at least one of these wellness-related benefits in a recent 12-month period. EAP services are available to full- and part-time employees as well as their family members.
  • Benefits/Financial: Full- and part-time employees are offered a 403(b) plan. A defined-benefit plan is offered to employees working 20-plus hours per week. All new hires and all employees are automatically enrolled in the 403(b) plan, employees age 50-plus can make catch-up contributions to their plan and may choose to invest in lifecycle funds that automatically reallocate assets based on age or proximity to retirement. Staff members, staff from the financial services firm that administers the 403(b) plan, and external financial planning experts provide financial planning information and training to employees. The UT Retirement Manager provides resources to help employees review their retirement savings and help project how much money is needed prior to retirement. A free 12-week financial education program is offered to employees and their spouses/partners, and Retirement Fairs are held annually. Employees are offered short- and long-term leave of absences without pay and paid time off for caregiving needs. The Reduced Salary Paid Leave program provides a 50 percent salary continuance for an employee needing time off from work for personal or family illness/injury. MD Anderson employees are offered referral services to assist with child care, grandchild care and elder care. Backup care for child care, grandchild care and elder care is offered to employees working 20-plus hours per week.
  • Benefits/Alternative Work Arrangements: Flextime, compressed work schedules, and telecommuting are alternative work arrangements offered to all employees. Employees working 20-plus hours per week can participate in job sharing. Full-time employees are eligible to move to part-time work on a permanent or temporary basis.
  • Opportunities for Retirees: MD Anderson has 2,886 retirees and an individual directly responsible for retiree relations. The hospital stays connected with its retirees by communicating on a regular basis, inviting retirees to organization events, providing retirees with ongoing access to retirement planning workshops and information, and by formally acknowledging employees upon their retirement. The following work arrangements are offered to retirees: temporary work assignments, consulting or contract work, telecommuting, and full- and part-time work.
  • Age of Workforce: Twenty-nine percent of MD Anderson employees are age 50-plus. The average tenure of employees age 50-plus is 13 years.

Also of Interest: More AARP Best Employers for Workers Over 50

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