ERS: Remember to use your new pharmacy card on January 1

Your pharmacy needs to see your new ID card starting January 1

If you are an employee or retiree enrolled in HealthSelectSM of Texas or Consumer Directed HealthSelect, you should have received a new ID card to use for medical appointments and at the pharmacy. Begin showing your new ID card to your medical providers and network pharmacies on January 1. If you have not received your ID card, please contact OptumRx at (866) 336-9371 (TTY: 711.) If you try to use the card sent by Caremark after December 31, the pharmacy probably will charge you incorrectly and could even deny coverage.
If you are a retiree enrolled in HealthSelect Medicare Advantage, KelseyCare Advantage or HealthSelect Secondary, you should have received a new Pharmacy Benefits ID card from UnitedHealthcare. Begin using this card on January 1. If you did not receive your new ID card, please contact UnitedHealthcare at (866) 868-0609 (TTY: 711.) Please note that you should continue to use your current medical ID card. If you try to use the card sent by SilverScript after December 31, the pharmacy probably will charge you incorrectly and could even deny coverage.
You will be able to view claims and other personal information through the plan websites beginning January 1, 2017.

* Employees and retirees who are NOT eligible for Medicare should visit HealthSelectRx.com.
* Retirees who are eligible for Medicare should visit HSMedicareRx.com.

Earlier this year, the Employees Retirement System of Texas selected UnitedHealthcare to be the administrator for HealthSelectSM Medicare Rx, the prescription drug program for the HealthSelect Medicare Advantage, HealthSelect Secondary and KelseyCare Advantage HMO plans. OptumRx, an affiliate of UnitedHealthcare, will administer the prescription drug programs for retirees not enrolled in Medicare, active employees, and their dependents enrolled in HealthSelect of Texas and Consumer Directed HealthSelect.

DPS Launches Enhanced Traffic Enforcement for Holidays

AUSTIN – The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) is urging drivers to help make the holidays safer by driving sober and using extra caution. In an effort to protect travelers on our roadways, DPS Troopers, as well as local law enforcement across the state, will conduct traffic patrols throughout the holiday weekends of Dec. 23 – 26 and Dec. 31 – Jan. 1, looking for drunk drivers, speeders, seat belt violators and other dangerous drivers.

“Impaired driving or reckless behavior on the road can turn holiday celebrations into tragedies, and these DPS patrols are designed to help save lives by identifying drivers who disregard the law and endanger others,” said DPS Director Steven McCraw. “By always driving sober, obeying traffic laws, and slowing down or moving over a lane when vehicles are stopped on the side of the road, Texans can help make our roads safer for everyone.”

During the eight-day Christmas/New Year holiday enforcement effort last year, DPS troopers made 466 DWI arrests. DPS enforcement efforts also resulted in 9,174 speeding citations, 893 seat belt/child safety seat citations, 320 fugitive arrests and 286 felony arrests during the enforcement period.

DPS offers the following additional tips for safe travel during the holidays:

Don’t drink and drive. Designate a driver or take a cab.
Slow down – especially in bad weather, construction areas and heavy traffic.
Eliminate distractions, including the use of mobile devices.
Buckle up everyone in the vehicle – it’s the law.
Slow down or move over for police, fire, EMS and Texas Department of Transportation vehicles and tow trucks that are stopped on the side of the road with emergency lights activated – it’s the law. Also, show the same courtesy to fellow drivers stopped along the road.
Don’t drive fatigued.
Drive defensively, as holiday travel may present additional challenges.
Make sure your vehicle is properly maintained and check the weather forecast before your trip begins.

DECEMBER 2016 TSTA NEWSLETTER

Dear Members and Friends of TSTA,

Read the December 2016 issue of the Texas State Trooper by clicking here.

Our cover story features Jack Lawler, the retiring editor of TSTA’s newsletter. Jack, it’s been a great 25 years. We’ll miss you.

Judge Gist has a great article concerning investigative stops supporting subsequent searches. This is a need to read.

TSTA Legal Counsel Jack Crier will include monthly articles. They will be known as Crier’s Chronicles and will contain great information.

During the legislative session we will attempt to inform you of important issues that will affect you at the Capitol. Read Deborah Ingersoll’s monthly updates.

TSTA always includes the valuable health tips form the Mayo Clinic Health Letter. This month’s subject is Blood Pressure. Need to read.

Then, what your $25 membership gets you. Now that’s a great deal.

See you next month,

Claude Hart
Executive Director
Texas State Troopers Association

OCTOBER-NOVEMBER 2016 TSTA NEWSLETTER

Dear Members and Friends of TSTA,

Read the October-November 2016 issue of Texas State Trooper by clicking here. The front page features Rick & Don Metcalf who for years have honored the memories of fallen troopers. Also it continues on to explain what we can do to assist them and the project.

On page 2 there is good information from Judge Gist on legally appropriate stops vs. legally improper stops. Be right – read this.

Next, read about your new Board of Directors – President, Vice President and Secretary Treasurer. Three good men. TSTA is very fortunate to have this dedicated Board.

TSTA is so blessed to have the ability to assist the Spjut family whose daughter Lauren has been so ill. Story page 11.

Read “What your $25 annual dues get you” on page 15 and how to join TSTA on page 17.

Sincerely,

Claude Hart
Executive Director

DPS Offers Halloween Safety Tips for Texans

AUSTIN – The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) is reminding parents, drivers and children that Halloween can be fun without sacrificing safety. Adults and kids can avoid a variety of potential dangers by adhering to basic safety practices and using extra caution in areas where trick-or-treaters will be celebrating.

“As we head into the weekend before Halloween, we are calling on Texans to take security and safety seriously,” said DPS Director Steven McCraw. “Drivers should be on the lookout for trick-or-treaters of all ages who might walk along our roads or suddenly cross the street. Also, if alcohol will be part of your celebration, always designate a sober driver or choose alternate transportation.”

DPS offers the following tips to keep in mind while driving during Halloween:

* Don’t drink and drive. (Designate a sober driver or take a cab.)
* Eliminate distractions, including the usage of mobile devices.
*Slow down; and further reduce speeds in bad weather, construction areas and heavy traffic.

When planning a trick-or-treat route, parents may visit the Texas Public Sex Offender Registry – which includes a mapping function – to check for offenders who may be living in their neighborhood at https://records.txdps.state.tx.us/SexOffender/PublicSite/Index.aspx.

Parents can also check the Texas Public Sex Offender Registry for offenders in their neighborhood by downloading the free DPS mobile app for use on iPhones, iPads and Android phones and tablets. The app provides interactive and easy-to-use maps for searching registered sex offenders by location, name, route and proximity. To see a demonstration of how to search by route using the DPS app, see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VnsdpxA9Dbk. Individuals can also report suspicious or criminal activity with the mobile app, at www.iwatchtx.org or by calling 1-844-643-2251.

The app is currently available for iPhone users on the Apple App Store (http://tinyurl.com/kj43lsr) and for Android users on Google Play (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.microassist.texasdps&hl=en).

Texans can also stay safe by using these Halloween safety tips:

* Look both ways before crossing roadways, and always walk; don’t run.
* Cross the roadway at intersections and crosswalks.
* Travel in groups with adult supervision.
* Do not enter the cars or homes of strangers, and avoid homes without visible porch lights.
* Make sure children know their home phone number and how to call 911 or their local emergency number in case they have an emergency or become lost.
* Take all treats home for an adult to inspect before eating anything, and nevereat unwrapped candy.

Individuals should also follow these tips when selecting a costume:

* Avoid toy guns and knives – they could easily be mistaken for a real weapon.
* Wear costumes that are light in color or place reflective material on the costume, so drivers can see you.
* Avoid using masks, if possible, to allow for better visibility and peripheral vision.
* Carry a flashlight.

Orange trooper awarded Purple Heart from Texas DPS

A Texas Highway Patrol trooper in Orange received a Purple Heart Thursday from the Texas Public Safety Commission and Texas Department of Public Safety, DPS announced.

Kimberly Ousman suffered “multiple injuries” on July 23, 2014, when she was struck while conducting a crash investigation along Interstate 10 in Orange County, according to Texas DPS.

A Lake Charles man, Will Houston, then 71, was charged with failure to control speed, according to previous Enterprise reporting. Houston’s vehicle struck Ousman’s patrol car, and the force of the impact pushed Ousman’s car into the previously crashed vehicle, which then struck Ousman according to Texas DPS.

Two other DPS employees received Lifesaving Awards. Sgt. Brad Gibson, of Austin, received an award for helping revive a driver who had stopped breathing. Troopers Robert Bowden and Matthew Ferguson, of Shamrock, who assisted a man severely injured in a rollover crash, according to Texas DPS.

Texas troopers to ride some school buses in safety push

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Some Texas troopers will give up patrol cars and instead ride school buses in a child safety effort.

The Texas Department of Public Safety says the plan is part of National School Bus Safety Week, which began Monday and runs through Friday.

It’s illegal in Texas to pass any school bus that is stopped and operating a visual signal — either flashing red lights or a stop sign. Troopers will be watching for drivers who violate the law, which could lead to fines of up to $1,250.

A DPS statement says troopers in parts of Texas will be riding on or following school buses to catch violators.

Texas troopers, during 2015 and so far in 2016, have issued nearly 1,100 tickets for illegally passing a stopped school bus.

Public Safety Commission, DPS Honor Employees

AUSTIN – The Texas Public Safety Commission (PSC) and Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) Director Steven McCraw presented one Purple Heart and three Lifesaving Awards to employees for their admirable service and courageous actions.

“Every day our commissioned personnel put their lives on the line to protect and serve the residents of this state, and their vigilance undoubtedly makes Texas a better place to live,” said Director McCraw. “On behalf of DPS and the entire state, I want to thank you for your commitment to helping others. These awards are a token of our tremendous appreciation for all that you do to safeguard our communities from a wide variety of public safety threats.”

The following awards were presented today:

Trooper Kimberly Ousman, Texas Highway Patrol in Orange, received a Purple Heart. On July 23, 2014, Ousman was conducting a crash investigation on Interstate 10 in Orange County, when a separate vehicle struck Ousman’s patrol vehicle from behind. The force of the impact pushed her patrol car into the previously crashed vehicle, which then struck Ousman, who suffered multiple injuries.

Sgt. Brad Gibson, Texas Highway Patrol Commercial Vehicle Enforcement in Austin, received a Lifesaving Award. While off duty on July 12, 2016, Gibson noticed a vehicle stopped in the roadway near the intersection of SH 130 and Parmer Lane in Travis County. He observed the vehicle’s passenger trying to move the driver, who was unresponsive. Gibson assisted the passenger in moving the driver away from traffic and ultimately began administering chest compressions in an attempt to revive the driver. The driver eventually began to breathe on his own and was transported to a hospital for treatment.

Trooper Robert Bowden, Texas Highway Patrol in Childress, and Trooper Matthew Ferguson, Texas Highway Patrol in Shamrock, each received a Lifesaving Award. On July 2, 2016, Bowden and Ferguson were the first units to arrive at a truck-tractor rollover crash in Childress County. When Ferguson made contact with the passenger, he observed that the man had severe lacerations to his right arm and asked Bowden to retrieve a tourniquet. Bowden then applied the tourniquet to the passenger’s arm to slow the bleeding. Ferguson later applied a second tourniquet on the passenger’s arm when the bleeding continued. EMS ultimately arrived and provided additional medical treatment.

DPS Bolsters School Bus Safety Efforts

AUSTIN – In conjunction with National School Bus Safety Week (Oct. 17-21), the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) is urging drivers to comply with laws prohibiting the passing of school buses. During this period, DPS Highway Patrol troopers will be watching for drivers who violate the law and taking the appropriate enforcement action. It is illegal to pass any school bus that is stopped and operating a visual signal – either flashing red lights or a stop sign.

“Any time a driver disregards a stopped school bus, they put children’s lives in danger, and DPS will not tolerate individuals who ignore the law, putting their own convenience before a child’s safety,” said DPS Director Steven McCraw. “In order to help keep children safe, we urge drivers to always obey the law and remain alert when traveling near a school bus or bus stops where students gather.”

“The safety of our schoolchildren is always a priority at the Texas Education Agency. We appreciate the dedication by Texas Highway Patrol Troopers during National School Bus Safety week – and throughout the entire year – to help ensure our students have a safe trip to and from school,” said Texas Commissioner of Education Mike Morath.

During National School Bus Safety Week, troopers in many areas will be riding on or following school buses to catch motorists who break the law. Because children are particularly vulnerable when entering or exiting a school bus, Troopers will also be patrolling areas where school buses pick up and drop off students, looking for motorists violating the school bus law. Drivers who violate the law could face fines as much as $1,250.

In 2015 and year to date in 2016, Texas Highway Patrol troopers have issued 1,093 tickets for passing a stopped school bus. According to the Texas Department of Transportation, failure to stop for a school bus was a contributing factor in 45 traffic crashes on Texas roadways last year.

According to Texas statute, a driver – traveling in either direction – must stop when approaching a school bus that is stopped and operating a visual signal. The driver may not proceed until one of the following occurs: the school bus resumes motion; the operator is signaled by the bus driver to proceed; or the visual signal is no longer activated.

If a road is divided only by a left-turning lane, drivers on both sides of the roadway must stop for school buses with alternating red flashing lights activated. However, if the lanes are separated by an intervening space or physical barrier, only motorists going in the same direction as the bus are required to stop.

(As a reminder, school buses, by law, must stop at all railroad crossings.)

Here are several safety measures drivers can take to help keep children safer:

When driving in school zones, watch out for student pedestrians.
Slow down and watch for children congregating near bus stops.
Look for children who might dart into the street without looking for traffic.
Know and obey the laws concerning traffic and school buses in Texas.
According to the Texas Education Agency, more than 42,000 school buses transport approximately 1.5 million Texas children every school day.

DPS Trooper helps deliver Burleson County baby

burleson-baby

DPS Trooper Joe Morris helped deliver a baby boy in the parking lot of the CEFCO Gas Station at FM 50 and FM 60 Saturday morning.

Around 10:15 a.m. Burleson County dispatchers got a call about a woman in labor in the gas station parking lot.

Trooper Morris was close by and arrived before emergency medical crews could get there.

Thanks to his childbirth training in the DPS Academy, he was able to help deliver a healthy baby boy.

The woman and her newborn were taken to Scott and White in College Station in an ambulance. Her husband followed behind them.