Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona (BCBSAZ) today announced that it is granting $565,000 to seven community organizations throughout the state that provide programs and services to address substance use disorders. Grants are being awarded to these organizations for programming that addresses substance use disorders with at least one of three complicating factors: COVID-19, social determinants of health, and/or co-occurring mental health conditions.
“We’ve seen over the past year that when we work together, we can accomplish great things,” said Pam Kehaly, President and Chief Executive Officer at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona. “We hope that these grants will bring us one step closer to a healthier Arizona.”
Between 2017 and 2021, Arizona has seen an estimated 65,982 opioid overdoses resulting in 9,053 deaths. To help reduce these numbers, BCBSAZ’s Mobile AZ Initiative invests in local organizations that build and deliver prevention programs and offer treatment and recovery services for substance use disorders and mental health conditions. The public health movement targets the health challenges hitting Arizonans the hardest.
One success story from this annual grant program comes from Flagstaff Shelter Services. The organization received a $100,000 grant from BCBSAZ’s Mobilize AZ initiative in 2019. The funds helped to mobilize housing-focused care teams to bridge substance use treatment and recovery services for people without stable housing. The emergency shelter reported an 81% reduction in substance use/misuse and a 60% decrease in emergency room visits among the 311 clients that engaged with the organization’s Housing Care Teams.
The following community organizations will receive grants from BCBSAZ this year:
- U.S. VETS – Prescott, a Yavapai-County-based location that provides employment assistance, transportation, counseling, case management, workforce development, full-service career center, veteran service center, quality care, and housing to the men and women who served our country. (The funds will help the organization to provide safe and effective care for veterans over the age of 55 who are experiencing increased substance misuse, depression, and other issues due to social isolation caused by COVID-19 restrictions.)
- Native Health, a Phoenix-based organization that provides high quality, patient-centered medical, dental, behavioral health, WIC and wellness programs to urban American Indians, Alaska Natives, and other individuals who generally experience barriers to holistic, patient-centered, culturally sensitive health and wellness services. (The funds will help the organization to reduce the impact of behavioral health conditions while fostering culturally responsive models to lessen the effect of disparities for urban American Indians and Alaskan Natives. The organization will focus on assisting patients with the social determinants of health such as food security, housing, transportation, workforce development, and financial assistance that can contribute to substance misuse.)
- Youth4Youth, a Glendale-based organization that helps youth to develop leadership and success skills while giving them the opportunity to make a positive difference in their school, community and beyond. (The funds will help the organization to implement school-based prevention programming and establish a Drug-Free Communities (DFC) Coalition in Peoria. Designated as an Arizona High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA), Peoria currently has no prevention programming in schools and does not have a DFC Coalition, despite Arizona youth survey results indicating a need to address drug use among youth in this community.)
- Maggie’s Place, a Phoenix-based nonprofit that welcomes pregnant and parenting women and their children into a safe and loving community, providing life-changing programs and ongoing services to help them to become self-sufficient. (The funds will help the organization to treat substance use disorders and address social determinants of health for moms and pregnant women. Impacts of these efforts include increased sobriety, safety, and participation in activities that support the mother-child bond, companionship, and community involvement.)
- Live & Learn, a Phoenix-based nonprofit that meets the financial education and career training needs for women. (The funds will help the organization to assist women, who are referred from sober-living facilities, with retaining employment, learning to access and navigate healthcare, gaining a healthy social support system, and developing financial literacy.)
- Southwest Human Development, a Phoenix-based nonprofit that supports Arizona children and families in Maricopa, Coconino, and Pima Counties, with a special focus on ensuring children 0-5 have what they need for a great start in life. (The finds will help the organization to bridge gaps in services for families transitioning home from the NICU with babies who are born substance exposed, have Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS), and who are in crisis at the time of birth. Funding will support NICU-to-home transition planning, facilitation of early intervention referrals, bedside consultations, mental health assessments, and telehealth services, resulting in improved mental health outcomes for the whole family.)
- Human Services Campus, Inc., a Phoenix-based nonprofit composed of 16 partner organizations that have the shared outcome of ending homelessness. (The funds will help the organization implement a street outreach program that addresses substance use disorders and social determinants of health by engaging with unsheltered individuals.)
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona (BCBSAZ) is committed to helping Arizonans get healthier faster and stay healthier longer. With a focus on connecting people with the care they need, BCBSAZ offers health insurance and related services to more than 1.9 million customers. Through advanced clinical programs and community outreach, BCBSAZ is inspiring health in Arizona. BCBSAZ, a not-for-profit company, is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association. The company, and its subsidiaries, employ more than 2,600 people in its Phoenix, Chandler, Flagstaff, and Tucson offices.