Investing in the Community

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We're Awarding Millions to Organizations Fighting the Opioid Epidemic 

Major investments focusing on the opioid epidemic, early childhood development, drivers of health and primary care directly benefit our employees, our customers and our communities. This continues our longstanding history of investing in our state.



Blue Cross and Blue Shield of NC (Blue Cross NC) Grants Help Fight Opioid Use Disorder

Nonprofit and public health organizations took part in a competitive Blue Cross NC grant process.* Recipients were awarded much-needed funding to support their efforts to prevent, treat and help North Carolinians recover from opioid use disorder.

Grants totaling $2 million were dispersed between the following initiatives as part of our $10 million investment to address the opioid epidemic.

*All grants were awarded from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina and not from the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina Foundation, which is an independent, charitable foundation with the mission of improving the health and well-being of North Carolinians since its founding in 2000.

Duke University Health System expands access to care in rural communities

Our grant will support "Symmetry," a mobile health tool developed by the Duke University Health System that standardizes opioid screening, prescribing and monitoring. The Symmetry platform engages patients and their caregivers, and helps address the complexities surrounding opioid treatment and misuse. Symmetry has a patient mobile application and a web-based clinician dashboard. Patients will learn about appropriate prescription usage and how to track home opioid use. Clinicians will get tips on spotting potential opioid misuse patterns before abuse begins.

UNC-Chapel Hill School of Medicine provides programming to improve physicians’ knowledge and patient outcomes

Our grant will fund the Group Visit Project to integrate primary care, behavioral health and group therapy. This new funding enables researchers to train more health care providers and launch additional UNC ECHO for Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) programs. The goal is to improve the effectiveness of care for substance abuse patients across North Carolina. 

Rowan County Health Department creates a "PORT"  to support opioid overdose survivors and high-risk communities

In Rowan County, unintentional overdose deaths have more than tripled from 2001 to 2016. Our grant will fund a Post-Overdose Response Team (PORT) to give emergency medical care and ongoing support to help opioid overdose survivors in their journey to becoming drug-free.

Overdose survivors receive Naloxone kits with information on safe usage and storage, and support from a Harm Reduction Advocate, Certified Peer Support Specialist and Community Paramedic. Across the country, this approach has been successful in helping reduce the number of overdose calls to Emergency Medical Services (EMS) and visits to emergency rooms. 

The Rowan County PORT is a coordinated effort between the Rowan County Health Department, Center for Prevention Services and Rowan County EMS. 

PIRE and Stanly County EMS enable first-responders to offer treatment beyond immediate resuscitation

Our investment in this two-year project, will help Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation (PIRE) and Stanly County train community paramedics to administer buprenorphine to opioid overdose survivors and help get them into a long-term MAT program.

Stanly County, located in central North Carolina, is a rural community of approximately 61,000 residents. It has the state’s highest rate of opioid overdoses resulting in emergency department visits. Stanly County EMS believes this treatment approach will prevent overdose deaths and expand access to care.

TRY launches Forward Together to train coalition partner members as family and community peer supports

As part of the Forward Together initiative, Together for Resilient Youth (TRY) will support programs, systems, states, territories and tribes as they implement effective recovery services for children, young adults, adults, seniors, families and other populations with mental or substance use disorders. The program will operate in Durham, Vance, Granville, Edgecombe, Nash, Craven and Yadkin counties.

TRY is a non-profit organization working to reduce community risk factors through education, mobilization and collaborative action.

Additional Investments

New statewide partnership will educate the public about opioid epidemic 

Blue Cross NC is partnering with the North Carolina Department of Justice and North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services to create "More Powerful NC." This initiative will raise awareness of the risks of opioid use, encourage patients to make smart healthcare decisions, get unneeded medications out of homes and medicine cabinets, and direct people to critical information and resources.

Blue Cross NC Invests in Community Colleges to Combat Opioid Epidemic 

Blue Cross NC has provided funding to the North Carolina Community College System to help create associate degree programs in emergency medical science at five community colleges across the state. The dramatic increase in drug overdoses highlights the importance of adequately trained and sufficiently resourced emergency medical personnel.

TROSA and Blue Cross NC increase capacity in the Triad that improves access to services in Western North Carolina

TROSA, an innovative, multi-year residential program, enables substance abusers to be productive, recovering individuals by providing comprehensive treatment, work-based vocational training, education and continuing care.

NCMSF and Blue Cross NC Support Project OBOT: Office-Based Opioid Treatment 

Providers given proper training and surrounded with professionals to share in their patients' treatment strategy can successfully treat those suffering Opioid Use Disorder (OUD). With the formation of Project OBOT, the Medical Society of North Carolina has built a coalition of organizations, including the NC Association of Health Directors, LabCorp, The Recovery Platform, UNC School of Public Health, Project Echo and MAHEC to facilitate the expansion of Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT). 

It's understood that the patient's medical "home" is usually the office of their Primary Care Physician (PCP). By helping PCPs become MAT-certified and removing the obstacles for treating OUD patients, we possess the only solution to fighting this epidemic. Likewise, pain management doctors must also accept the role of caring for abusers of both illicit and prescribed opioids. By establishing a number of pilots to perform opioid treatment and recovery, Project OBOT aims to provide increased access to treatment-specific platforms in a variety of locations.

The UNC School of Government and Blue Cross NC develop community-based solutions in up to 10 NC communities

The University of North Carolina School of Government is the largest university-based local government training, advisory and research organization in the U.S. and helps local governments manage public health.

Blue Cross NC, Inmar and Mutual Drug partner to offer 125 drop-off boxes in 99 counties across the state

As a leader in the healthcare industry, Inmar developed its Consumer Drug Take-Back Program as a response to the Opioid Crisis. They remove the burden of regulatory requirements and incremental costs for retailers.

NC Mutual Drug Company, based in Durham, NC, is a member-owned network of independent pharmacies offering business support, legislative advocacy and innovative solutions.

ncIMPACT and UNC-TV document and share the challenges and issues surrounding the opioid crisis

With a team of outstanding producers, Public Media North Carolina (UNC-TV) will build awareness around this crisis, and through this awareness will help Blue Cross NC to address the opioid epidemic through prevention, intervention and treatment.

University of North Carolina Television is a public television network branded on-air as UNC-TV. ncIMPACT (airing Thursdays at 8 p.m.) examines issues around our state including education, jobs, healthcare and others.

The Poe Center increases Blue Cross NC prevention outreach with interactive medicine cabinet teaching tool exhibit 

The medicine cabinet is a software platform for classrooms and communities. Software options include touch screens and custom features for all ages from young children to teens to parents striving to create a safe environment for their families. 

The Poe Center for Health Education, a nonprofit in Raleigh, designed the platform to raise awareness, educate and facilitate problem solving, safe solutions and alternatives surrounding prescription medication, including safe storage and disposal.