Claremore Daily Progress

January 21, 2014

County employees’ health may get a boost

Salesha Wilken
Staff Reporter

CLAREMORE —

Rogers County employees may be moving to improve their wellness as the commissioners will decide if the county needs to join the 2014 ACCO County Gridiron contest.
Sponsored by the Association of County Commissioners, the ACCO insurance program has been developed to boost employee health and impact their future insurance costs, according to contest guidelines listed at www.okacco.com. 
ACCO provides workers compensation insurance to Rogers County for a premium of approximately $300,000 annually.
The association is a member driven entity, which also serves as a public lobbyist organization.
Taxpayers of Rogers County fund the county’s participation in the program, as well as, quarterly training or other events hosted by the organization. State legislators have recognized the need to address health incentives passing HB 1113 in 2013, (O.S. 19 §§ 339 & 1302), according to the ACCO website. The bill provides an opportunity for a county to develop a wellness council to improve the health and wellness.
Human Resource Director Jenny Bentley currently oversees health and wellness for Rogers County.
She leads a group of employees who often exercise in the 2nd floor meeting room of the courthouse after work.
The program will serve to improve employee health and allows certain payments to be returned to the employee for participation, according to ACCO program guidelines.
Rogers County currently has a program, which allows employees who participate in certain health screenings and programs to receive reimbursement or some health care costs.
“In order for the county to provide monetary awards to their employees, the county must develop a Health & Wellness council according to the above-mentioned statute.  If the county wants to reward employees they can do so under the authority of that council,” according to the ACCO website.  Unlike safety awards, health and wellness awards do not have a set amount.
The employees could be compensated receiving a dollar amount per challenge or dollar amount for meeting all challenges during the program, according to the guidelines.  ACCO will also provide prizes for the winning counties. The organization provides prizes for other contest throughout the year, including a costume contest at Halloween or door prizes at one of several conferences hosted in Norman throughout the year.