A new wellness program geared to employees of small businesses was unveiled for Hardin County on Friday morning at Hardin Memorial Hospital in Kenton.
The Ohio Bureau of Worker’s Compensation created Better You, Better Ohio to assist workers throughout the state in dealing with health issues and living healthy.
It goes online on Feb. 1, said BWC Regional Business Development Manager Jim Wyse.
The staff at the state agency decided to use some of the BWC’s surplus funding and establish a program which would provide an incentive for safety and healthy decisions in the workplace, he said.
Studies have shown that people with heart disease are 23 percent more likely to file a BWC claim than those not suffering from the condition, Wyse said.
Workers suffering from depression are 25 percent more likely to submit a claim, while those with diabetes are 17 percent more likely.
Healthy You, Healthy Ohio also would assist with anti-smoking programs for workers, which is a significant concern at the agency, said Wyse.
The wellness program is geared to small businesses with 50 or fewer employees and is operated through the ActiveHealth company, which has 32 million subscribers nationally.
The company, said Wyse, works only with large businesses with 5,000 workers or more, but the Ohio BWC has worked out an agreement with ActiveHealth.
Ohio workers can join the program at no charge, he continued.
The BWC is targeting jobs in agriculture, automotive repair and service, construction, firefighting, health care, manufacturing, police and safety, public employees, restaurants and food service, transportation and trucking, trash collection, wholesale and retail.
The program is being funded for two years, after which it will be assessed for continuance, Wyse said.
After Feb. 1, when the sign-up information is posted online, workers can register to participate.
The first step is completing a health risk assessment and having a biometrics screening.
The screenings are expected to be made available through ActiveHealth at centralized locations, said Wyse, or can be scheduled at Quest Labs.
Once the registration process is completed, each enrollee will be paid $75, said Wyse.
Should concerns be noted on the screening, the employee can be coached to chance his health habits and after three months if he successfully completes the program will be rewarded with another $50.
Once enrolled, said Wyse, participants will have access to recipes for healthy eating and other suggestions for healthy changes.
Digital coaching can be made available.
The first question on the application will ask the applicant is he is involved in another wellness program.
If the answer is yes, the application process stops, he said.
“We are not trying to steal people from other programs,” said Wyse.
Hardin Memorial Hospital offers a similar program, said HMH Manager of Business Development Kim Reisinger.
“We are really excited about this program,” she said.
“We don’t feel like we are competing. Our common goal is to get employees feeling better.”
Jesse Purcell, Director of Chamber and Tourism at the Hardin County Chamber and Business Alliance, suggested workers could make participation in the program a competition or employers could reward participation with financial incentives.
“This program would benefit them greatly,” she said.