Lawsuit Avoidance Checklist for Your Wellness Program
Not every office participates in a wellness program.Â If you do, here are some suggestions for your success:
- Keep corporate wellness and employment decisions separate. Achievement on a health programÂ shouldnâ€™tÂ be a basis for promotion, for example.
- Use a third party, such as your insurance provider, to run your wellness program. They have more experience in designing programs, and all of the protected health information goes to them.
- Have your health insurance provider do your program; itâ€™s simpler and all the protected health information is in one place.
- Limit participation to participants in your health plan.
- Include the wellness program in your Summary of Plan Benefits and other health plan materials.
- Focus on voluntary wellness activities, such as employer-paid annual physicals, on-site exercise facilities, and smoking cessation programs. (If you condition rewards on achieving a health goal, you have to put a lot of protections in and offer alternatives.)
- Aim for participation, not performance.
- If you do offer a reward for meeting a health standard, make an alternative available for employees who cannot meet the standard.
- Enter into a business associate agreement with your wellness provider, and include an indemnity for any failure to safeguard PHI or genetic information.
- If you must request medical information for an employee, direct the individual or provider not to provide genetic information.
- If you have a health risk assessment, identify questions relating to family medical history as â€śoptional.â€ť
Train workers who implement and manage your corporate wellness programs to comply with the law and company policy.