Funding available for innovation to treat opioid abuse in pregnant women

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DETROIT –  A new public-private collaboration is seeking innovative proposals to protect pregnant women and their infants struggling with opioid use disorder.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Foundation are collaborating on a new initiative called “Addressing Perinatal Opioid Use Disorder.” A total of $200,000 will be awarded to begin new projects, enhance or expand existing projects to prevent and treat opioid use disorder among women, their children and infants during prenatal, pregnancy and postpartum periods.

“MDHHS is committed to improving the lives of mothers, infants and families impacted by Perinatal Substance Use Disorder.  This funding opportunity is an example of the powerful impact that can be made when we collaboratively and innovatively address public health challenges” said Joneigh S. Khaldun, MD, MPHA, FACEP, Michigan Department of Health and Human Services chief medical executive and chief deputy director for Health.

Women with opioid use disorder, who are pregnant or likely to become pregnant, face potentially adverse outcomes for themselves and their infants, including preterm labor, stillbirth, neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) and maternal mortality. According to MDHHS’ Division for Vital Records, between 2010 to 2017, the rate of infants discharged from hospitals for drug withdrawals has increased by more than 50 percent.

“The impact of opioid use disorder on pregnant women and their families is devastating, and we strive to make sure resources are available for treatment options,” said Lynda Rossi, executive vice president at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and president of the BCBSM Foundation.  “Better access to care is absolutely critical. The intent of this initiative is to improve options for pregnant women suffering from addiction; and find innovative treatment solutions that can be used by others in similar circumstances.”

The initiative provides one-time grants to begin new projects, enhance or expand existing projects to reduce opioid use and harm to women and their infants. The grants are targeted toward non-profit organizations participating in one of the 10 Regional Perinatal Quality Collaboratives in Michigan to establish effective and evidence-based projects that will be sustained after the grant period ends. The maximum grant awarded to any organization will be $75,000. 

“Anyone can be affected by opioid use disorder, including pregnant mothers and their families,” said Audrey Harvey, Executive Director and CEO of the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Foundation. “This grant aims to enhance and improve treatment methods for this population, with a goal of sharing results and best practices on a larger scale. We are looking for ways to expand treatment options to everywhere this disease can reach.”

Non-profit health organizations participating with their Regional Perinatal Quality Collaborative are invited to apply for the funding. Proposals and application materials are due Aug. 31, 2019. More information can be found here, and applications can be submitted as a single PDF to innovations@bcbsm.com.

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