Excellus awards funding to ACR Health, Consortium for Children’s Services

Mark Muthumbi

Excellus BlueCross BlueShield recently awarded grant funding to two Central New York organizations dedicated to assisting local communities in the fight against overdose deaths and to healing family relationships wounded by the scourge of substance use disorder.

Excellus BCBS has awarded ACR Health with a $6,499 Health & Wellness Award to support the organization’s overdose awareness and prevention programming, and also awarded a $5,000 Health & Wellness Award to the Consortium for Children’s Services for its nurturing parenting families in substance abuse treatment and recovery program.

“Our mission as a local, nonprofit health plan is to help people in our communities live healthier and more secure lives through access to high-quality, affordable health care,” says Mark Muthumbi, regional president, Excellus BlueCross BlueShield. “We see the devastating ripple effects of the opioid epidemic and substance use across the nation and in our Central New York communities. We’re eager to partner in this way with ACR Health and the Children’s Consortium in an effort to save lives and families.”   

According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, more than 100,000 people in the U.S. died from a drug overdose in 2021.  And right here in Central New York, the story is no different. Since January of this year, already more than 700 overdoses have been reported in Onondaga County alone, according to data released by the Onondaga County Health Department.

This Health & Wellness Award funding supports ACR Health’s year-round community overdose awareness education and training. Serving Onondaga, Cayuga, Herkimer, Jefferson, Lewis, Madison, Oneida, Oswego, and St. Lawrence counties, ACR Health utilizes peer educators to perform targeted outreach and equip community members with education, training, and tools, such as sterile syringe supplies and free overdose prevention kits (Naloxone), to minimize overdose risk, address barriers to access, and reduce stigma in Central and Northern New York communities. ACR Health also performs weekly overdose prevention outreach in “hot spot” zones in both Onondaga and Oneida counties.

Excellus BCBS’s award funding supports The Consortium for Children’s Services’ nurturing parenting families in substance abuse treatment and recovery programming, which encompasses its circle of security and active parenting programs and focuses on the effects of substance abuse on families, parenting, and parent-child relationships. Combining experiential and didactic exercises, this programming enhances parents’ self-awareness and assists them in re-establishing and strengthening their connections with their children.

As parents and children work through the eight-to-10-week program (offered in five separate sessions throughout the year), their relationship should improve as certain essential factors, specifically mutuality, authenticity, and empathy, become more vital and pervasive in the relationship. In-person and virtual options are offered to families in Onondaga, Cayuga, Cortland, Madison, Oneida and Oswego counties.