We recognize many of our faculty and staff were greatly impacted by Harvey. In addition to the resources posted through the Rice Crisis/Emergency Management website, we have listed a few additional resources.
Storm Recovery Seminar
In the aftermath of Hurricane/Tropical Storm Harvey, the Rice Crisis Management Team and the Glasscock School of Continuing Studies hosted a Harvey recovery seminar for faculty, staff and students in Duncan Hall’s McMurtry Auditorium Sept. 8. The link below allows access to the recording with a rice netid and password.
The university is offering financial assistance from the Employee Disaster Assistance Program of up to $5,000 in the form of low-interest loans and/or grants to all eligible faculty and staff impacted by Tropical Storm Harvey to help address immediate needs.
The focus of the program is on meeting immediate needs that employees have and are facing as a result of evacuation from their homes and flooding of their primary homes, apartments and vehicles.
- Temporary personal, immediate family, or living expenses while away from home because of flooding (e.g., temporary rent payments/hotel payments; replacement of some clothing or medicines lost in the storm; expenses while in shelters).
- Expenses incurred for the repair or rehabilitation of a personal primary residence or rented personal primary residence.
- Expenses incurred for the repair or replacement of the contents of a personal primary residence or personal primary rented residence.
- Expenses incurred for the repair or replacement of a primary vehicle.
- Insurance deductibles (for primary home, renters and/or auto).
Note that the following expenses are not eligible for grants or loans:
- Items paid for or reimbursed by insurance, FEMA or other reimbursement programs.
- Expenses incurred for relatively minor damage to homes or personal property where water damage was not substantial.
Who is eligible for the Employee Disaster Assistance Program?
Benefits-eligible faculty and staff who are currently employed with Rice.
How does the Employee Disaster Assistance Program work?
Eligible faculty and staff requesting assistance will fill out an application (can be done ahead of time or during an interview), provide pictures of the damage, and provide supporting documentation for their request. The following is a list of examples of supporting documentation:
- All pages of the insurance policy declaration page (generally about 4 pages) for your homeowner's/renter's policy.
- All pages of your flood insurance policy declaration page (if applicable).
- FEMA/Insurance company estimate of damage (must have an address of the property on the form).
- Contractors estimate of repairs (estimate should have an address of the property included).
- Receipts for hotel, rental car and personal items claimed.
Eligible faculty and staff will set up short in-person meetings to discuss their request and provide supporting documentation with a representative from HR and/or the Controller’s Office. Scheduling will begin Thursday, Sept. 14, for interviews to be held in the Allen Center. Eligible faculty and staff should contact Abraham Roberts (Abraham.firstname.lastname@example.org or x3440) to set up a time to meet.
How is my mix of aid determined?
The ratio between grant and low interest loan is based on the employee’s annual gross income. The higher the income of the employee, the lower the grant portion and the higher the loan portion. This income-based approach is necessary to comply with the needs test required by IRS under its qualified disaster relief program.
- Grants will be nontaxable to the employee and will not require any repayment.
- Loans are low interest (1.29%) and will be repaid over 18 months through a payroll deduction. The repayment will not start until 90 days after the funds are disbursed.
An application for Employee Disaster Assistance is attached. If you have questions about the Employee Disaster Assistance Program, please contact University Controller Brad Fralic at email@example.com or 713-348-4927.
Baker Botts is a full-service, leading global law firm that originated in Houston. They have put together the following Guide for those who have been impacted by Hurricane Harvey. The information included in this Guide has been compiled from hundreds of sources to make it accessible:
Due to severe weather that affected areas in Texas, we realize that people may have had to leave their homes. As a result, we are making it easier for you in the affected area to refill prescriptions.
Aetna is monitoring the situation to ensure our members have access to medical providers. Please remember that you can seek urgent or emergency care anywhere, as needed.
Members don’t have to wait for prescriptions
Express Scripts has modified the prescription refill policies to meet the prescription drug needs of you in the affected areas:
- Members who left without their medications can refill their prescriptions early.
- Members whose mail-order medications may have been damaged or destroyed are able to get refills (with applicable cost sharing).
- Members whose plans require them to use mail-order for certain medications can fill these prescriptions at a local pharmacy during the emergency period.
- Accredo Specialty Pharmacy has been contacting members in the affected areas who are expecting deliveries, so they can make sure the members are able to receive their medications at their original or an alternative address. You may contact them if you have concerns about any deliveries by calling Express Scripts at 1-800-363-9019 and asking for Accredo Specialty Pharmacy.
- ESI Home Delivery is filling orders for the affected areas; however some streets may become blocked or closed. This might prevent both UPS and USPS from making deliveries. Therefore members might be experiencing service delays in those areas. If UPS and USPS are unable to deliver to an address, they will hold the delivery. Members can contact customer service to request alternative delivery sites, or fill their prescriptions at a local pharmacy during the emergency period.
Additional assistance for Aetna members
Aetna is offering additional assistance to help their commercial plan members like us. They’ve extended deadlines for affected commercial plan members to submit level I and level II appeals. Appeals for commercial members in the above county in Texas that would have been due by August 23, 2017 have now had the deadline extended to September 21, 2017. Commercial plan members should contact Aetna if they believe their ability to appeal a situation has been impacted by these local conditions.
The Aetna concierge is working and is available to assist members with questions or issues. They can be reached at 1 800 905 7670. Express Scripts can be reached at 1 800 363 9019. Our benefits line is open, and we are checking that voice mail in case any of you have benefits issues you need assistance with. We can be reached at 713-348-2363.
If you need care that is not a dire emergency, like fractures, sprains or other urgent injuries, urgent care centers also offer an economical alternative to ER visits. Many of these health care spots are open seven days a week — even nights, weekends and holidays — with no appointments necessary. Of course, if you have chest pain, trouble breathing, bad bleeding or other symptoms that you believe may put your life at risk you should go to the emergency room. But not every health need is a medical emergency.
To find an urgent care center near you, please use Aetna's DocFind Search Engine and search under Urgent Care Centers. Remember to call before you go to make sure they are open.
Aetna Phone App
Did you know the Aetna application can help you year round including during the recovery period from Hurricane Harvey? You can use the Aetna application on your smart phone for access to your Aetna account including if you need to find a doctor, urgent care center, or a copy of your Aetna ID card. You can use your Aetna Navigator login and password if you already have one as well as setting up a 6-digit pin or setting up your Apple TouchID for faster login. The Aetna app will walk you through an easy registration process if you do not already have an account set up on Aetna Navigator. You can set up an account with either your Aetna Member ID if you have it available or your Social Security Number. The process is quick and just 3 easy steps.
Once your account is set up you can use the app to find a doctor, urgent care, even learn about your coverage. You can use the guided or self-search option, the app will take your location and the plan you are in to look for doctors and facilities in network. You will receive a list of providers in your network closest to your location with address and if they are accepting new patients or not, you will be able to call the doctor or facility and get driving directions as well as see specialties if needed when you click to make a choice.
You can text Apps to 23862 (data and messaging rates may apply) or use the link below to download the Aetna app.
Rice Emergency Management's message on child care
Due to a number of local schools remaining closed next week as they continue to recover from Harvey, Rice will offer a limited number of slots for child care on campus Sept. 11-15 to help our employees who have returned to work. Priority will be given to elementary and middle school children whose schools will not open until at least Sept. 18.
Bright Horizons will care for your children in the first-floor event space at the BRC with games, books, arts and crafts, coloring and more. Child care will be available from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. If you need this care, please complete the child care survey at https://emergency.rice.edu/content/childcare-part-2. Even if your children attended the BRC childcare this week, you will need to complete the survey.
Off-site back -up care through Bright Horizons
We want to remind you about back-up care through Bright Horizons. Availability is not back to normal at this time, but they are meeting most needs that people have reported. There are several ways they may be able to help you
- Back up child care in your home
- Back up child care in one of their area centers
- You find care on your own, and Bright Horizons reimburses you (NEW PROGRAM called My CareAssist!! SEE BELOW FOR MORE DETAILS. THIS PROGRAM REQUIRES PRE-APPROVAL)
Effective immediately through Friday, September 15, 2017, Bright Horizons Back-Up Care Advantage Program with My CareAssist is available to you if your family care arrangements are being impacted by Hurricane Harvey.
It is necessary that you be registered with Bright-Horizons to take advantage of these programs. To register, visit www.careadvantage.com/rice and click on "Register & Reserve Care". First time users should click on the "Not Registered Yet? Create Your Profile" link and enter the employer credentials:
Alternatively you may call Bright-Horizons at 877-242-2737. Care consultants are available 24/7.
Once you are registered, you can inquire about availability for in-home care, childcare centers, or request to have access to My CareAssist. Bright Horizons will help you find the care you need, or you can receive a reimbursement stipend until September 15th to help cover the cost to hire a caregiver within your own personal network, such as a relative, babysitter, or friend. Any use of the program will count towards your standard number of back-up care visits.
To be reimbursed for care through your own personal network (a relative, babysitter, or friend), you need to contact the Bright Horizons Back-Up Care Advantage Program at 877-242-2737 and receive pre-approval prior to securing care. Bright Horizons will start the process of reimbursement for you at that time.
Programs for kids
My CareAssist is an enhancement to our current program. In the aftermath of Harvey, we will be allowing employees to request to use the program without having to attempt to schedule care first, but you do have to contact Bright Horizons in advance to request it.
The My CareAssist program works like this for the employee:
If Bright Horizons is unable to secure care through a current network provider, employees have the option of finding their own back-up provider and being reimbursed for related care.
- Up to $100/day reimbursement for center-based or in-home care for children or adults
- Call 877-BH-CARES (877-242-2737) and a care consultant will research care options. If no providers are available, the care consultant will offer information on My CareAssist and send you all applicable forms for reimbursement. During this time, an employee can request to use My CareAssist directly to 877-242-2737.
- Use of My CareAssist does count towards the annual use bank for the employee
- Employee must file an electronic claim for reimbursement
To apply for FEMA assistance, please visit http://www.disasterassistance.gov/ and select the "Apply Online" button to fill out the online application. You will be asked for insurance and identification information.
For information on what FEMA covers or the inspection process, please review FEMA's Individual Disaster Assistance page.
FEMA authorizing ‘clean and removal’ assistance
FEMA authorized Clean and Removal Assistance for all designated counties in Texas for homeowners with disaster-related real property damage that do not qualify for Home Repair Assistance because the damage did not render the home uninhabitable.
This assistance is intended to prevent additional loss and potential health and safety concerns and reduce contamination from floodwater.
Clean and Removal Assistance is awarded as a one-time payment per household. This amount represents the average cost of cleaning, sanitizing and removing carpet in a flooded dwelling in the designated area.
Clean and Removal Assistance payments are part of FEMA’s “Other Needs Assistance” program. Applicants must register with FEMA at DisasterAssistance.gov and meet all eligibility requirements. An inspector must verify that floodwater caused the damage to at least one item in the home.
After experiencing a flood, contact your agent or insurance company to file a claim. Photograph and move water-damaged items outside (to prevent mold), but don’t have them hauled away until an adjuster sees them. The Houston Chronicle explains in detail: Don't throw out carpets, appliances, sofas just yet
FEMA's How Do I File My Flood Claim? page explains the filing process in detail.
Rice employees and their loved ones can access free, convenient, and confidential services on a variety of different topics through Rice's Employee Assistance Program (UTEAP). You may contact a UTEAP consultant at (713) 500-3327 or toll-free at (800) 346-3549 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Some of the services Rice’s EAP offers include counseling sessions with a licensed mental health professional, legal and financial resources, WorkLife referrals, and more. All EAP services are private and completely confidential, and are available to you, your family members, dependents, or anyone significant in your life.
For more information on Rice's EAP, please visit:
Below, are two recovery and crisis related resources provided by Rice's EAP:
Disaster recovery resources
The CDC offers great health information on what to do after a flood (clean-up, hygiene, dealing with mold, etc.).
SAMHSA offers a disaster distress hotline (1-800-985-5990) and resources related to coping with disaster for families, children, and those who are helping in the response and clean-up effort. This page is a nice central hub that links to much more information.
The American Psychological Association published an article on how to Manage flood-related distress by building resilience. Read through it to learn how to get through hard times.
Medscape offers things to lookout for during and after Harvey in their article, Hurricane Harvey Threats: What Patients Should Know & Do.
Free Rice Recreation Center Events
The Rice Recreation Center is now offering wellness services directly to departments. If you have any questions about our services, please contact Ash Lauderdale at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Indoor physical activity
Recent events have been stressful for us all. We all know that exercise can be a great stress reliever, and while it may be difficult if not impossible to get to the gym during this challenging time, there are some exercises and things you can do to take care of yourself at home. Below are some great resources. Additionally, the American Council on Exercise (ACE) has an extensive exercise library with videos.
Aetna has opened its Resources for Living services to the community regardless of whether they are Aetna members or not. Affected individuals can call 1-888-AETNA-EAP (1-888-238-6232) for telephonic consultation to help cope with the emotional impact of this event or for assistance with finding resources such as available shelters, government resources and referrals.
Please visit the Controller's Office website for more information:
As stated Rice Emergency Management's message, Child care for school-aged children next week, you may work with your departmental colleagues and gain approval from your supervisor to use conference or other rooms in Rice buildings for an on-campus parent cooperative. These must be limited to school-aged children (K-8); one staff person from your unit must be in the room at all times; high school children may volunteer to help. You will need to work this out with your departmental colleagues directly. We are also working to provide spaces on campus available for recreation time. If you are going to pursue this option, all adults working with the children must complete the following very short training related to minors on campus: https://www.classmarker.com/online-test/start/?quiz=dkq4fd8bd7050f57
Volunteer or Donate Locally
Contact your closest relief organization, options listed in the sidebar, and they will let you know how you can volunteer or donate following the disaster. Food banks are urging folks to donate money, as it can be done safely from your home and doesn’t require any manpower to sort through.
Volunteer with Rice Harvey Action Team
The Rice Harvey Action Team (R-HAT) has been helping community members by tearing out drywall, moving furniture, pulling up wet carpet and performing other tasks. To request a volunteer crew, or to volunteer yourself, please register for R-HAT at http://ricesa.org/hurricane-harvey/. We have some jobs where participation from faculty or staff would be very helpful.
It’s been great to see support and resources from the Houston community. Below are additional resources not issued by Rice HR.
Food Cleanup & Indoor Air Quality
Disinfecting Drinking Water (Spanish)
More than 100 members of the Rice community have offered temporary housing through Rice Emergency Management's online tool, and they are actively connecting them with those who have indicated a need. If you’re looking for a place to stay temporarily, fill out the form at https://emergency.rice.edu/temporary-housing-match.