BWC launching $5 million opioid assistance program
Earlier this week, the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) announced that it is launching a pilot program aimed at assisting employers willing to hire individuals recovering from opioid addiction and other dangerous substances.
Beginning October 2018, the BWC’s Opioid Workplace Safety Program will distribute up to $5 million to employers in some of the hardest-hit counties in Ohio. Namely, the program will provide funds to employers in Montgomery, Ross and Scioto Counties to hire, manage and retain individuals in drug recovery.
As the BWC’s chief medical officer, Dr. Terry Welsh, explained, “many employers are struggling to fill jobs because otherwise qualified applicants have a history of substance abuse or addiction.” This program will “give employers resources to help them better manage these workers so everyone wins — businesses boost productivity without compromising safety, and workers have a greater chance of a successful recovery.”
Specifically, the program will provide:
- Reimbursement for pre-employment, random and reasonable suspicion drug testing
- Training for management and supervisory staff to help better manage a workforce that includes individuals in recovery
- A forum/venue for “second-chance” employers to share success stories, encouraging others to hire workers in recovery
Aimed at launching the program by October 15, 2018, the BWC expects changes and updates regarding the pilot program to be released in the coming weeks.