Phoenix, Arizona - Governor Doug Ducey Tuesday joined Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona (BCBSAZ) to launch Mobilize AZ, a multi-faceted program to address the misuse of opioids and other substances and reduce overdose-related deaths in Arizona. The $10 million from BCBSAZ will support prevention, treatment, and recovery programs to help providers, the community, and local organizations fight against the opioid epidemic over three years. The investment is on top of the $10 million dollars Arizona invested to help uninsured and underinsured people get the addiction treatment they need as part of the Arizona Opioid Epidemic Act.
In Arizona alone, there were more than 8,500 suspected opioid overdoses and more than 1,500 suspected opioid deaths in the past year. As the numbers continue to climb and impact the health of Arizona families, BCBSAZ is stepping up in an effort to turn the tide against substance misuse.
“Arizona is facing the opioid epidemic head-on by holding bad actors accountable and providing the tools and resources medical professionals, law enforcement and treatment providers need in order to save lives. While we’ve seen positive signs of progress, our work is not done,” said Governor Ducey. “Blue Cross Blue Shield has long been a champion of public health in our state and we’re grateful for their investment and continued dedication to winning this fight against opioids. With partners like this, our efforts will continue to strengthen.”
Mobilize AZ includes more than a dozen strategies tailored to patients, doctors, and the community, including a grant program that will award a minimum of $1 million each year for three years to community organizations involved in education, treatment, and recovery. Grant applications are now open and will be accepted on an ongoing basis through a formal request-for-proposal process. Additionally, BCBSAZ will focus on expanding treatment resources and filling gaps through medication-assisted treatment (MAT), telehealth and 24-hour triage to create a gateway to help for those in need.
“The opioid epidemic is one of the most significant public health and safety issues the state has faced in generations. Our vision is to bring together medical professionals, insurers, government, and the community to turn the tide against substance misuse, while showing compassion for those struggling with addiction and protecting those suffering from chronic pain,” said Pam Kehaly, president and CEO of BCBSAZ. “Now is our time to act, and together we can heal and protect Arizona.”
Helping to shape and guide the program is an advisory committee of leaders who represent Arizona’s diverse communities. The committee works closely with the BCBSAZ Community Health Interventions Team to advise on priorities, review grant applications, and help monitor outcomes.