Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona (BCBSAZ) joined Governor Doug Ducey Tuesday to launch Mobilize AZ, a multi-faceted program to address the misuse of opioids and other substances and reduce overdose-related deaths in Arizona. With BCBSAZ investing $10 million over three years, the initiative will support prevention, treatment, and recovery programs to help providers, the community, and local organizations fight against the opioid epidemic.
In the state of 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.
“Opioid misuse continues to take a devastating toll in Arizona. While we have already made an incredible amount of progress to address this issue, more must be done,” said Gov. Ducey. “This $10 million investment demonstrates Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona’s continued commitment to public health and will further support the state’s efforts in the fight against the opioid epidemic and substance use disorder.”
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.
Mobilize AZ embodies BCBSAZ’s mission to improve the quality of life for all Arizonans. For almost 80 years, BCBSAZ has helped Arizonans protect their health and, in recent years, has worked to combat the opioid epidemic. The company, working in collaboration with its provider network, has reduced the number of opioid medications prescribed to members by 35 percent since 2013.
For more information and to join BCBSAZ in the fight against opioid misuse and substance use disorder, visit MobilizeAZ.com.