Coronavirus – COVID-19: Resources

March 5, 2020 Sue Rorke

Updated 4/12/2021

MWCIL has collected COVID-19 resources for people with disabilities.  Follow up with the providers to confirm all details as most programs are temporary.  If you have a disability and need assistance, MWCIL continues to be fully staffed.

Check out Framingham Home Bound Vaccination program below (4/5/2021)!

Download our email from March 25, 2021 on the Covid-19 Vaccine: https://mailchi.mp/af413c0e66cf/mwcil-news-covid-19-surges-4701270

Covid-19 cell
Table Of Contents

Vaccine

ALL MA residents can now pre-register at the website below. They will not be scheduled or contacted until they are eligible. New vaccination sign-up website: https://vaxfinder.mass.gov/ or call 2-1-1.

How to prepare for your COVID-19 vaccine appointment GUIDE

Mass.gov Covid-19 Resources in multiple languages: https://www.mass.gov/resource/multilingual-covid-19-materials

Sign Up and Sites

Visit Mass.gov for the latest and most complete information.  You can sign up online for the following three types of locations.

Mass vaccination sites

  • Preregister at VaccineSignUp.mass.gov to be notified when it’s your turn to schedule an appointment
  • High volume, large venue sites offer the most appointments

General vaccination sites

  • Use VaxFinder.mass.gov to search for appointments
  • Includes health care locations, pharmacies and grocery stores –
  • Fewer appointments but availability updated daily.  The state does not provide pre-registration at any of the smaller sites – you have to find a moment when they have available appointments.

Local Vaccination Sites

  • Use VaxFinder.mass.gov to search for appointments
  • May be open only to residents of select and towns
  • Check the listing to see if the site is restricted
  • Framingham Free Clinic – Free (no cost, no insurance required) COVID-19 vaccine clinics will be held in April at the Greater Framingham Community Church (44 Franklin Street). The first clinic will be on Saturday, April 10 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Requirements: 55 and older, able to get 2nd dose Saturday May 8 9 am – 1. Appointments can be made starting Tuesday, March 30, 2021 between the hours of 9 a.m. and noon and going forward Monday through Friday between 9 a.m. and noon. Application completed over the phone. Appointments made on the spot. Call 508-561-5462. Read more in the Framingham Source.

Framingham Vaccine Info

Framingham Home Bound Residents

Excerpts from From The Framingham Source:

FRAMINGHAM – Members of the Framingham Medical Reserve Corp and other City of Framingham health officials began administering the Johnson & Johnson COVID vaccine to homebound individuals. Residents who are homebound or functionally disabled may qualify for home vaccinations through the City of Framingham’s Vaccine Equity Program.

If you are interested, please call Framingham’s Public Health Nursing Office at 508-532-5667. Leave your name, phone number, and address, and someone will return your call within 24 hours.

Framingham Free Clinic

No cost, no insurance required COVID-19 vaccine clinics will be held in April at the Greater Framingham Community Church (44 Franklin Street). The first clinic will be on Saturday, April 10 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Requirements: 55 and older, able to get 2nd dose Saturday May 8 9 am – 1. Appointments can be made starting Tuesday, March 30, 2021 between the hours of 9 a.m. and noon and going forward Monday through Friday between 9 a.m. and noon. Application completed over the phone. Appointments made on the spot. Call 508-561-5462. Read more in the Framingham Source.

Framingham Transportation to Vaccine Appointments

The City of Framingham has created a list of transportation resources to help bring residents to and from their vaccine appointments. View the resource list https://www.framinghamma.gov/3236/Transportation-to-COVID-19-Vaccine-Appoi. Special thank you to the MetroWest Transportation Authority, SMOC, and the Callahan Center for your support.

Second Dose Appointment

  • If you are receiving the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, you must receive both doses. You should schedule your second-dose appointment on-site as you are leaving your first vaccination.
    • Pfizer: Second shot recommended 21 days after first shot (can be up to 42 days)
    • Moderna: second shot recommended 28 days after the first shot (can be up to 42 days)
  • You must get the same type of vaccine both times.
  • The Johnson and Johnson vaccine is one dose only

211

Anyone who cannot sign up online can call 211 to pre-register and receive notifications by phone.

Eligibility

  • People age 75 and older
  • People age 60-74
  • People with 2+ certain medical conditions
  • Low income and affordable senior housing residents & staff
  • Health care workers
  • Long term care settings residents & staff
  • First responders
  • Congregate care settings residents & staff
  • Educators, Child Care Workers & School Staff
  • Workers in certain categories

Eligible April 5:

Eligible April 19 (everyone):

  • People age 16 and older

MassHealth rides for vaccine

MassHealth has made changes to its non-emergency transportation policy to expand eligibility and simplify processes for transportation to and from COVID-19 vaccine appointments.

MassHealth is providing free transportation to vaccine appointments to any individual that has any type of MassHealth coverage or the Health Safety Net. This includes people with MassHealth Limited, Children’s Medical Security Program (CMSP) and MassHealth Family Assistance (FA).  In addition, members can request transportation services directly through MassHealth’s Customer Service, rather than needing to request services through a health care provider.  If an individual has MassHealth or the Health Safety Net, they (or a caregiver) can be encouraged to call their health plan or MassHealth directly to schedule free transportation at 800-841-2900 (TTY: 800-497-4648). 

To find the transportation broker for your area, visit https://www.mass.gov/service-details/providing-rides-through-the-hst-brokerage.

However, MassHealth members who are enrolled in a Senior Care Options or One Care plan or in a Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) should continue to contact their health plan or PACE provider to request help with transportation.

Homebound MA Residents and In-home Vaccinations

from MassHealth and the Executive Office of Health and Human Services (EOHHS)

For people who cannot leave their home for a vaccine appointment, even with assistance, the Commonwealth has a developed a multi-pronged solution to ensure these individuals are able to get vaccinated in their home. Below, find links to a detailed resource guide on the Massachusetts Homebound Vaccination Program.   

Officials will use the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine for homebound individuals, which is “easier to transport, requires no ultra-cold storage temperatures, and requires only one appointment.”

In-home Vaccine Eligibility

  • Require ambulance or two-person assistance to leave the home, or
  • Are not able to leave the home for medical appointments under normal circumstances, or
  • Have considerable difficulty and/or require significant support to leave the home for medical appointments

Sign up for an In-home Vaccine

Homebound residents or their assistants can call 1-833-983-0485 to begin the process of scheduling an in-home vaccine appointment. The line will be open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., available in English and Spanish and with translators available for other languages.

Many local Boards of Health are managing their own homebound vaccination programs for their community. The Central Intake Line will help connect homebound individuals from across the Commonwealth with the right resource.

If in-home vaccination is appropriate, individuals will be registered with the State Homebound Vaccine Provider, Commonwealth Care Alliance, or referred to their local Board of Health.

Massachusetts Homebound Vaccination Program (Word)

Massachusetts Homebound Vaccination Program (PDF)

Myths about the Vaccine

Myths about the vaccine from Sanford Health:

  • Myth: It was rushed and isn’t safe. FACT: Researchers took no safety shortcuts. Large studies show the vaccine is safe.
  • Myth: It changes your DNA. FACT: It’s impossible for the vaccine to change your DNA.
  • Myth: It can give you Covid-19. FACT: The vaccine does not contain a live virus strain.
  • Myth: It contains egg protein. FACT: It does not contain egg proteins and can be given to people with egg allergies.
  • Myth: It causes severe side effects. FACT: For most, the vaccine causes mild side effects that resolve in a few days.
  • Myth: It makes women infertile. FACT: There is no evidence that the vaccine causes infertility.

Congregate Settings

Visitation

Nursing Home Family Resource Line

617-660-5399
Open Every Day – 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM – a dedicated phone line to connect family members of nursing home and rest home residents with the information and resources they need. This new phone line provides one central contact for families and community members who have questions about the nursing home or rest home care their loved one is receiving during the COVID-19 outbreak. Staff will field questions on a range of topics and coordinate across state agencies to help provide answers.

Reopening

Reopening Massachusetts: Mass.gov provides the latest updates and information. The Daily Dashboard includes new cases and deaths: https://www.mass.gov/info-details/covid-19-response-reporting#covid-19-daily-dashboard-. Weekly reports will be released on Thursdays. To view the weekly reports, visit Archive of COVID-19 Weekly Public Health Reports – Reports from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH).

DDS Visitation Guidelines: Visit mass.gov on DDS Visitation for revised guidelines from July 1.

Masks are required in public places where social distancing is not possible. This applies to both indoor and outdoor spaces. Exceptions include children under the age of 2 and those unable to wear a mask or face covering due to a medical condition. Visit mass.gov on wearing masks for more information.

National Reopening: The CDC has released guidelines for people who are fully vaccinated. Visit cdc.gov for more information.

Framingham

Testing Sites

Visit memamaps.maps.arcgis.com/apps for an interactive state-wide map of testing sites.

From Senate President Karen Spilka

Senator Spilka has a page with the latest updates on the virus: karenspilka.com/covid.

Survey from Disability Policy Consortium

Over the course of this summer, DPC’s YESHealth research team reached our to the community to learn how COVID-19 is affecting your healthcare, and the response was enormous: more than four hundred people got back to us to share their concerns and their needs for systemic change. Read the full study – it’s concerning: https://www.dpcma.org/covid-healthcare-pwd-ma.

Masks for PCAs

Consumers of the Massachusetts PCA program can get free masks and gloves delivered for PCAs from their union, 1199SEIU. PCAs can order the masks online using the 1199SEIU order form.

MA Department of Public Health

DPH has posted information and fact sheets in several languages, as well as updated Massachusetts information on Covid-19 at Mass.gov DPH.

MassHealth Information

Consumer Information: www.mass.gov/info-details/masshealth-coronavirus-disease-2019-covid-19-applicants-and-members

General MassHealth Information: www.mass.gov/coronavirus-disease-covid-19-and-masshealth

90 Day Supplies of Medication for MassHealth Members: www.mass.gov/doc/pharmacy-facts-141-march-12-2020-0/download

PPE – Personal Protection Equipment for Covid-19 Positive Members

MassHealth PPE Program for COVID-19 Positive Members will get a supply of personal protective equipment (PPE) sent to the home of MassHealth members receiving certain MassHealth covered in-home services and supports and who have a documented case of COVID-19 so that they can continue to receive services at home by their personal care attendant (PCA), independent nurse, or direct care worker. Download the file below for more information.

PCA Users

PCA Overtime Limits: MassHealth is temporarily suspending the overtime limits (weekly hour limits) listed under 130 CMR 422.418(A) for the PCA program. Pursuant to this change, until further notice, a Consumer may schedule a PCA to work overtime hours without requiring prior authorization from MassHealth. Consumers should schedule their PCAs with the health and well-being of both Consumer and PCA in mind.

Please note that you still cannot exceed the maximum number of hours per week approved for in your PA. This is only waiving the overtime piece in case a PCA needs to work additional hours for more than 1 consumer putting them over 40 hours. The PCA will not be in danger of being sanctioned by MassHealth until further notice. Learn more from mass.gov pca overtime.

Temporary Expansion of Home Health Aide Services: Please visit the link and learn more about how anyone experiencing disruption in their PCA services can user Home Health Aide Services. Read www.mass.gov/doc/home-health-agency-bulletin-56/download or visit MassOptions.org. MassOptions hotline at 1-844-422-6277.

If you or a family member or friend is a MassHealth member who receives hands-on support from a Personal Care Attendant (PCA) but is short PCAs during the COVID-19 outbreak, call the MassOptions hotline at 1-844-422-6277 to obtain home health aide services.

Long Term Supports and Services, including PCA Management Agencies and Fiscal Intermediaries: https://www.mass.gov/doc/ltss-provider-updates-for-covid-19/download

Housing

COVID-19 Legal Help Project

Eviction Diversion Initiative: Through the COVID-19 Eviction Legal Help Project (CELHP), a substantial expansion of free legal help for low-income tenants as well as low-income owner-occupants of 2-3 family properties navigating the eviction process has started. These services can be used before the eviction process begins, as well as once a notice has been received, and can be used in coordination with the mediation services we have already rolled out.  For these services income eligibility is capped at 200% of federal poverty level.

Services will be available in every region and can be found on a new website built for this initiative: https://evictionlegalhelp.org/. Households can also call 2-1-1, and learn more at our website, www.mass.gov/CovidHousingHelp.  

Resources such as a new video in English and Spanish, social media posts and new flyers in seven languages (Chinese, Haitian Creole, Khmer, Portuguese, Spanish, Russian, and Vietnamese ) can be found on our website.

Legal help is available right now for income-eligible tenants facing eviction.  We strongly encourage tenants and landlords to learn about legal help as well as community mediation resources. Eligible tenants and landlords should seek help as soon as possible, before a court filing occurs.

There also is a website, Resources for Renters, Homeowners, and Landlords, in English and Spanish.

CHAPA

As the COVID-19 situation evolves, CHAPA is adapting their operations and policy priorities. COVID-19 Affordable Housing Resources: www.chapa.org.

DHCD and RAFT

Department of Community and Housing Development (DHCD) – including updates for Residential Assistance for Families in Transition (RAFT) Program – www.mass.gov/info-details/covid-19-dhcd-website#residential-assistance-for-families-in-transition-(raft)-program-and-covid-19-state-of-emergency-

Temporary Halt on Evictions

Visit Mass.gov for eviction protection information: https://www.mass.gov/info-details/covid-19-eviction-information. The CDC halt expires March 31, 2021.

Food

Massachusetts Food Pantries at foodpantries.org.

Call Project Bread’s Food Source Hotline: 1-800-645-8333

Call Mass 2-1-1

The Mass. Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA) is issuing emergency SNAP (food stamp) supplements to many SNAP households to help buy food during the pandemic crisis. Congress approved special SNAP supplement benefits in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Apply on-line at www.mass.gov/how-to/apply-for-snap-benefits-food-stamps.

Massachusetts residents can use SNAP benefits to purchase groceries online via Walmart and Amazon, with more grocery retailers hopefully joining the program soon. Visit Mass.gov snap for more information.

Education

The response to Covid-19 varies widely from district to district, and even grade to grade. Learn more at www.doe.mass.edu/covid19.

Finances

The National Disability Institute has put together resource pages about the financial impact that Covid-19 has on people with disabilities and those with chronic health conditions, as well as their families and communities. Visit their National Resilience Center for more information.

Unemployment

Visit the State Unemployment Insurance page for online application forms, as well as links to rules and exceptions during the Covid-19 pandemic. www.mass.gov/unemployment-insurance-ui-online.

The Mass. Department of Unemployment Assistance put together this guide on How to File for Unemployment during COVID-19: www.mass.gov/doc/filing-a-new-unemployment-claim-covid-19/download.

Apply for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance: Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) provides up to 39 weeks of unemployment benefits to individuals who are unable to work because of a COVID-19-related reason but are not eligible for regular or extended unemployment benefits. www.mass.gov/how-to/apply-for-pandemic-unemployment-assistance

For people who have lost employer based health insurance, see the MassHealth special enrollment for Health Connector.

Social Security

See updates on benefits related to Covid-19: www.ssa.gov/coronavirus

Recipients of Supplemental Security Income (SSI) will automatically receive automatic Economic Impact Payments. Download the document for more information:

MA Attorney General

The Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office’s work as the People’s Law Firm continues amidst the Coronavirus public health emergency. The AG’s Office is warning Massachusetts residents to be on alert for individuals and businesses that may try to take advantage of uncertainty about COVID-19.

The AG’s hotlines will still be fully staffed during the regular hours. Visit the AG web page at mass.gov AG for more resources.

Mental Health

Deaf and Hard of Hearing Resources

American Sign Language

Other Deaf and Hard of Hearing Resources

Disability Rights and Healthcare

We have heard threats and warnings that healthcare may need to be rationed, and that “someone” may have to decide who gets treated and who does not. These warnings are especially frightening for people with disabilities who may feel undervalued. The Disability Rights and Education Fund has compiled information on this topic. You can download their pdf document: Preventing Discrimination in the Treatment of COVID-19 Patients: The Illegality of Medical Rationing on the Basis of Disability.

From HHS – a bulletin from March 28: Civil Rights, HIPAA,and the Coronavirus Disease 2019 .pdf

From the Center for Dignity in Healthcare for People with Disabilities is this one page fact sheet for health care providers.

From ACL (Administration for Community Living)

ACL has compiled resources for seniors and people with disabilities: acl.gov/COVID-19.

COVID-19 Info By and For People with Disabilities

COVID-19 Vaccine Information in Plain Language By Self Advocates Becoming Empowered.

COVID-19 Information By and For People with Disabilities from the Green Mountain Self Advocates and the Vermont Developmental Disabilities Council: Plain-Language-Information-on-Coronavirus.pdf.

COVID-19 Plain Language Guidance for Employees with Developmental Disabilities, describes OSHA rules and including information and tools to use to make a decision about going out in public during the COVID-19 outbreak. selfadvocacyinfo.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/COVID-19-Plain-Language-Guidance-for-Employees-with-Developmental-Disabilities-ENTIRE-BOOKLET.pdf