Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation Begins Accepting Applications for Workplace Wellness Grant Program

The Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation (BWC) is now accepting applications for its new Workplace Wellness Grant Program. The BWC created the program to help Ohio employers improve the overall health of their workforce and reduce injuries by adding a wellness component to their safety programs that addresses health risk factors specific to their workplaces.
According to the BWC, employers participating in the program will be awarded up to $15,000 over a four-year period to implement wellness programs addressing health risk factors such as obesity and chronic disease. The BWC will gather data from participating employers to determine the effectiveness of the program in reducing claims frequency and costs, improving return-to-work rates, and reducing health care costs for employers.
State fund employers without existing wellness programs who are current on all premiums and other costs are eligible to apply to the BWC for a grant. The BWC is awarding grants on a first-come, first-served basis, based on the availability of funds, and it expects that over 600 businesses will apply.
Once the BWC accepts an employer into the program, the employer is required to submit biannual and annual reporting to the BWC for four years following the implementation of the wellness program and enter into a written agreement with the BWC. Further, the employer is required to implement the wellness program within three months of receiving the grant funds. Employers will be eligible to renew their participation in the program on a yearly basis. An employer will be disqualified from the program, and could face civil or criminal sanctions, if the BWC determines that the employer knowingly misrepresented information on the initial grant application, violated any laws pertaining to confidential personal health information, and/or coerced employees to participate in the workplace wellness program.
Applications for the BWC wellness grant program are available at www.ohiobwc.com.   Employers should call 1-800-OHIOBWC (1-800-644-6292) to verify eligibility before submitting the application.
Roetzel & Andress will continue to provide further information and guidance on this issue to assist you as developments arise. If you should have any questions, please contact any of our offices to discuss this matter further with one of our workers’ compensation attorneys.


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