September 23, 2018
 
RIZE Grants $1.8M to Four Mass. Health Nonprofits

June 25, 2018 — RIZE Massachusetts, a Boston nonprofit formed a year ago to raise funds to combat the opioid crisis in the state, last week announced it awarded $1.8 million to four nonprofit community health centers to develop collaborative approaches to treatment that facilitate coordination among medical, behavioral, and community organizations.

The funds are the first to be awarded from the inaugural grant program from RIZE Massachusetts aimed at establishing or expanding innovative systems of low-threshold, on-demand treatment to prevent death, support long-term treatment, and improve the health and quality of life for people experiencing opioid-use disorder.

“These grants are intended to disrupt the status quo by improving and expanding care and treatment of opioid use disorder while contributing to the evidence base and reducing stigma,” said David Torchiana, president and chief executive officer of Partners HealthCare and board chair of RIZE. “This is just the beginning of RIZE’s work to end the opioid epidemic in Massachusetts and reduce its devastating impact on individuals, families, communities, and our economy.”

The four grantees were chosen from a pool of more than 30 applicants. RIZE said the programs being funded :will be developed into best practices that will serve people in their communities while also having the potential to be scaled to help more people in need across Massachusetts."

The four organizations are:
  • Boston Health Care for the Homeless in Boston, which will partner with the Pine Street Inn and St. Francis House to increase access to treatment and harm reduction services for homeless and formerly homeless individuals with opioid use disorder.

  • Brockton Neighborhood Health Center, which will implement a collaboration with the city of Brockton’s Champion Plan (a police-assisted recovery program that encourages those with substance use disorders to visit the police station, where they are paired with a recovery coach), the Plymouth County Sheriff’s Office, the Gandara Center, and High Point Treatment Center.

  • Community Healthlink in Worcester, which operates one of only three state-funded opioid urgent care centers in Massachusetts, provides a comprehensive array of services for substance use disorder and mental illness, will expand its Behavioral Health and Addiction Urgent Care.

  • Lynn Community Health Center in Lynn will partner with the Lynn Police Department, Lynn Shelter Association, Bridgewell, Inc., Healthy Streets Outreach Program and other community partners to implement a care model to improve access to treatment and long-term recovery programs.
The Center for Disease Control estimates that the opioid epidemic is costing Massachusetts $10 billion a year in health care costs, lost productivity, and other factors.

To quantify the negative economic impact of the opioid epidemic on the Massachusetts economy, RIZE awarded a grant to the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation, a Boston nonprofit that develops independent analyses on state and local fiscal, tax and economic policies, including the cost of the epidemic to employers and employees, the health care system, and state and municipal budgets. RIZE did not disclose the amount of the grant.

RIZE Massachusetts was created to build a $50 million fund focused "on bringing real and lasting change to those struggling with substance use disorders in the Commonwealth." Work supported by this fund will address the opioid epidemic through a full continuum of programs from prevention to long-term sustainable recovery, and focus on the specific areas where more resources are immediately necessary. It aims to achieve zero deaths and zero stigma related to opioid use disorder.

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