Durham, N.C. – Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (Blue Cross NC) announced today a $2 million competitive grant process aimed at addressing the state’s opioid epidemic. Blue Cross NC is accepting proposals from qualified 501(c) 3 non-profit organizations or public health entities in North Carolina. The company is seeking innovative approaches to prevent, treat and help people recover from opioid use disorder.
“I have personally treated patients struggling with opioid use disorder. There isn’t an easy answer to this crisis, and it’s going to take everyone working together to adequately address this public health emergency,” said Dr. Anuradha Rao-Patel, Blue Cross NC Medical Director and acute and chronic pain management specialist. “Our $2 million grant process is about getting the best ideas on the table and then putting them into action – it’s about preventing addiction, treating dependency and saving lives.”
Applications for funding can be submitted here. All proposals must be submitted by November 1, 2018. This $2 million investment is part of Blue Cross NC’s larger $10 million investment in addressing the opioid epidemic announced earlier this year.
Selection will be based on the organization’s ability to create system-level changes across prevention, treatment and recovery.
Prevention, treatment and recovery are the legs of Blue Cross NC’s three-pronged approach to addressing the opioid epidemic. Efforts already undertaken by Blue Cross NC in these areas include:
- Prevention: Limiting the first-time prescription of short-acting opioids to a seven-day maximum supply, opioid risk screening, educating doctors on CDC guidelines and state laws, and partnering with pharmacies on the safe disposal of opioids.
- Intervention: using advanced analytics to detect unusual patterns of opioid prescribing and monitoring for doctor and pharmacy shopping.
- Treatment: 24-hour phone line for members to get help with addiction, coverage for multiple forms of non-pharmaceutical pain management therapies, and coverage of telehealth options for substance abuse.
These efforts have proven successful. Blue Cross NC claims data shows that, since 2013, the company has lowered opioid prescriptions by 16 percent.
In North Carolina, three people die every day from an opioid overdose. For every death, there are nearly three times as many hospitalizations and four times as many ER visits. Statewide, the opioid epidemic carries a $21 billion economic cost.
For more information about Blue Cross NC’s efforts across the state to battle the opioid epidemic, please to go www.bluecrossnc.com/opioids.
About Blue Cross NC:
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina improves the health and well-being of our customers and communities by providing innovative health care products, services and information to more than 3.89 million members, including approximately 1 million served on behalf of other Blue Plans. Since 1933, we have worked to make North Carolina a better place to live through our support of community organizations, programs and events that promote good health. We have been recognized as one of the World’s Most Ethical Companies by Ethisphere Institute every year since 2012. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. Visit Blue Cross online at bluecrossnc.com. All other marks are the property of their respective owners.