Columbia, S.C. — According to the American Medical Association*, states across the nation have reported increases in drug-related deaths during COVID-19. In South Carolina, the number of emergency responses to overdoses nearly doubled compared to last year. That’s why Healthy Blue is donating $50,000 to the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) Project ECHO (Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes) — a program that increases access to care in medically underserved areas.
Project ECHO began in 2003 as a program that connects community providers with specialists. MUSC’s Project ECHO for Opioid Use Disorders helps doctors gain the special skills needed to provide treatment to patients who misuse opioids.
“We’re proud to help MUSC and Project ECHO help those who struggle with opioid use,” said Tim Vaughn, president and COO at BlueChoice HealthPlan of South Carolina. Healthy Blue is the Medicaid product for BlueChoice HealthPlan. “COVID-19 has left many overwhelmed. It’s important to us at Healthy Blue to support providers who are working to fight drug abuse during the current pandemic.”
“In keeping with MUSC’s educational mission, Project ECHO supports teaching providers how to evaluate and treat individuals suffering with opioid use disorders. Addressing the opioid epidemic is important to improving access to quality care and reducing overdose deaths. We are pleased to see that Healthy Blue shares our commitment to increasing access to care,” said Karen Hartwell, M.D., Director Project ECHO OUD, Addition Science Division, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science MUSC.
The contribution given by Healthy Blue will be used to support Project ECHO through the end of 2020. Providers who participate in the program will receive one credit toward their continuing medical education.
About BlueChoice HealthPlan of South Carolina
Headquartered in Columbia, BlueChoice HealthPlan of South Carolina is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. BlueChoice HealthPlan has an “Accredited” status from the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) for its commercial business and for its Medicaid business. BlueChoice HealthPlan offers four categories of group health plans, as well as individual plans for adults and families, and a South Carolina Medicaid product.
Both companies hold an A+ rating from AM Best.
*The American Medical Association is an independent organization that provides health information you may find helpful.
About BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina
Headquartered in Columbia, S.C., and operating in South Carolina for more than 70 years, BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. The only South Carolina-owned and operated health insurance carrier, BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina comprises more than 20 companies involved in health insurance services, U.S. DoD health programs and Medicare contracts, other insurance and employee benefits services, and a philanthropic foundation that funds programs to improve health care and access to health care for South Carolinians.
Headquartered in Columbia, BlueChoice HealthPlan of South Carolina (www.BlueChoiceSC.com) also is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.