LEWISTON — The Lewiston-based Community Health Options (Health Options), the state’s only nonprofit, Member-led health insurance organization, has awarded grants to six Maine nonprofit agencies helping people who are living with or at risk of substance use disorders, supporting people with substance use recovery and continuity of care, and reducing negative substance-related health impacts in the state.

“We were incredibly impressed with the many organizations that submitted applications,” said Kevin Lewis, president, and CEO of Health Options. “From peer support training to community outreach and organizing outdoor, activity-based recovery support, it’s encouraging to see how community-based groups are assisting people in recovery.”

The six grant recipients are the Community Resource Council – Addiction Outreach Program, Kennebec Valley Mental Health Center d/b/a Behavioral Health (KBH), Maine Access Points (MAP), Milestone Recovery, Northern Light Mercy Hospital – McAuley Residence Program, and the Portland Recovery Community Center.

“There’s a great need for support and resources to address substance use disorders in Maine,” said Maggie Kelley, senior VP and chief clinical officer. “One data point illustrating this need comes from the Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center at the University of Maine (Orono), which reports 247 fatal overdoses between January and May 2021. This number is 20 percent higher than the same period in 2020. It’s also far too many Maine people lost to substance use disorders. The COVID-19 impact on behavioral health needs has intensified the importance of supporting our community partners.  The more that all Maine communities can pull together to help some of our most vulnerable people, the better it is for all of us.”

Community Health Options is the only Maine‐based, nonprofit, Member‐led health plan and plan administrator providing comprehensive health insurance benefits for individuals, families, and businesses. Health Options partners with more than 1,300 businesses and 48,000 healthcare providers in the state.

Health Options laid the financial and foundational groundwork for a Community Benefits Expenditure program in 2019 and began awarding grants in 2020. Health Options works with the Maine Community Foundation to administer grant funds. The CBE Advisory Council includes public health experts, community organizers, and people with decades of experience working in the nonprofit sector. Learn more here: Community Giving.