COVID-19 Information and Resources
COVID-19 Resources
1.866.724.4327
Free & Confidential Services for Employees, Physicians, Professional Staff & IHP Students

Coping with COVID-19

The Mass General Brigham workforce is doing an amazing job responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. Across the system, there have been so many examples (both on the front lines and remotely), of quality care, innovation, adaptability and dedication. For some, this commitment does not come without an impact on individuals and families. Whether you need help addressing symptoms of anxiety, depression or stress, childcare and parenting, financial well-being, work concerns or anything else, confidential help is just a phone call away. Below are some resources you might find helpful in coping with this difficult time, but please do not hesitate to contact the EAP at 866-724-4327 for confidential assistance.

COVID Information for Mass General Brigham Employees (Includes Vaccine Updates)

Occupational Health Services Employee Hotline

  • Employee Hotline for Mass General Brigham Healthcare Employees and other members:
    617-724-8100
    8am-4:30pm 7 days a week.
  • Reporting your symptoms or illnesses and receiving guidance on when to return to work if you have questions after you have completed the employee illness report using this online tool.
  • Health concerns related to potential COVID-19 exposures
  • Specific testing for COVID-19

Information on Vaccines

Limited scheduling of first dose vaccine appointments for employees and patients is ongoing

  • Information for patients

Mass General Brigham will reach out to eligible patients via Patient Gateway in batches and will allow scheduling of vaccine appointments through a centralized call-center.
The following patient populations meet the criteria to qualify for a vaccine under  current State guidelines:

    • Individuals ages 60 and older;
    • Individuals ages 16-64 with two or more certain medical conditions.
    • People in other eligible populations (e.g.: teachers, food services workers)
  • Information for employees

All health care workers including COVID-facing health care workers, home-based health care workers and non-COVID-facing health care workers are considered part of the state’s Phase 1 vaccination plan. Mass General Brigham employees can schedule an appointment to get the vaccine through COVID Pass. For assistance, view the tip sheet or speak with your manager.

Check here for vaccine updates from Mass General Brigham.

Employees and patients seeking new first dose appointments are still welcome to schedule via the State Vaccination Site, as the Mass General Brigham vaccine supply is still limited.

Information on Vaccine Roll-out for Commonwealth of Massachusetts 

Eligible individuals and those who will be eligible in later phases may now pre-register at the Mass.Gov Website. Those who are eligible will be contacted by the Commonwealth to schedule a vaccine appointment.

Eligible individuals  can also schedule by phone by dialing 211 and following the prompts for vaccines. Call Center Hours: 8:30-5-M-F, with English and Spanish speaking schedulers and the option for an interpreter in other languages.

Massachusetts Vaccination Phases

Vaccine Information for Older Adults
AARP – The COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Plan in Massachusetts 

Vaccine Equity
We Got Us Project – Empowerment through Education

Empowering communities with accurate science information and public health resources such as the COVID vaccine. Connects Black community members and organizations with trusted Black healthcare professionals and students.

Beware of Vaccine Scams
Mass.Gov – Vaccine Scam Information

Mass General Brigham COVID Transition Updates and Guidelines

Mass General Brigham - Attestation Process Required for Employees Working onsite

To ensure you and your colleagues are able to enter the building quickly and safely, especially during peak times, please:

  • Have your Day Pass ready to show either on your phone or in print at the attestation area by visiting at www.Mass General Brigham.org/covidpass before you arrive.
  • To the best of your ability, maintain a distance of six feet between yourself and other staff members when attesting, especially manually.
  • When you have completed attestation, immediately put your mask on before proceeding to your work area. Staff are expected to wear masks at all times while on premises.

Mass General Brigham Community Connects

This community-moderated service has been created to connect direct care providers with fellow neighbor employees to help respond to the needs of employees returning to work. MGB Community Connects is intended to link the Mass General Brigham community and provide ways for employees who live in the same neighborhood to find coworkers to carpool to work, do family and neighborhood activities, and connect pet lovers. Find more information on their homepage.

General COVID-19 Information
Multicultural & Equity COVID-19 Resources
Managing your Physical Health during the Pandemic

Maintaining your physical health right now is an important priority. Below are some resources and guidance for being informed, vigilant and healthy.

Occupational Health Services Employee Hotline

Mass General Brigham - Guidance for Staying Healthy in the Workplace

  • Eat and Drink Away from Others: When infected, an individual can be contagious starting two days before symptoms begin. When employees take masks off to eat and drink together, without maintaining a distance of six feet, exposures can result.
  • Manage Breakrooms to Reduce Crowding: If social distance in breakrooms cannot be maintained, consider finding alternative areas to take breaks. If you eat in the cafeteria, keep six feet apart from others.
  • Keep Your Distance When Possible: Do your best to maintain six feet of separation from co-workers when your work permits. We recognize that sometimes our work requires us be within six feet of one another. That is fine as long as everyone wears a mask.
  • Avoid Crowding When Possible: Minimize crowding together in conference rooms, break rooms, nurses’ stations and other places where people tend to cluster (e.g. near printers or water coolers).
  • Wear Your Mask Correctly: Ensure that your mask is covering both your mouth and your nose at all times. For information about the proper technique for putting on, using and taking off a mask, please review the mask infographic.

The Importance of Treating non-COVID Conditions - Video presented by John Herman MD.

Planning for a Serious Medical Event

In the event of a serious medical situation, it is helpful to have a plan in place to ensure that all of your needs and wishes are met. While this is a difficult concept for many of us to think about, this is the best way to help family, friends and medical providers assist you if a serious medical event arises. The MGH article below offers some guidance for this process.
MGH – Planning for Peace of Mind During COVID-19 and Beyond

Financial Assistance (COVID)

Financial Resource Center for Mass General Brigham Employees

Employees, staff and household members have access to financial education and free 30-minute sessions with financial experts. If you have concerns or questions about topics such as budgeting, debt, college financing, retirement or estate planning, for access call the EAP at 866-724-4327 or the weblink via AskmyHR.

Stimulus Acts and Other COVID-19 Regulatory Supports (including Funeral Assistance)

Apply at: COVID-19 Funeral Assistance Line 844-684-6333 | TTY: 800-462-7585 or

FEMA – Funeral Assistance

Emergency Assistance and Community Support

Mass General Brigham EAP Guides to Reaching Financial Assistance by Telephone

Housing Financial Assistance (COVID)

Tax and Unemployment Fraud Resources (State & Federal Filing Deadline Extended to 5/17)

Self-Help Tax Resources


Help Finding Reputable Tax Assistance

Mass.Gov – Finding a tax professional to Help with your Taxes


Free Tax Assistance

Volunteer Tax Assistance Programs offer free tax help to people who generally make $57,000 or less, including persons with disabilities, the elderly and limited English speaking taxpayers who need assistance in preparing their own tax returns. They also help with getting tax credits and refunds.

Commonwealth of Massachusetts


Nationwide


Special COVID-19 Tax Considerations

Unemployment Fraud during COVID

 Unemployment fraud is coming to light as people start preparing taxes.  If you have concerns about or believe you have been a victim of unemployment fraud, do the following:


Stimulus Payments and Taxes

Information from the IRS:

  • Those who may be eligible for stimulus payments should carefully review the guidelines for the IRS.Gov Recovery Rebate Information
  • Anyone who received the maximum amount Economic Impact Payments automatically does not need to include any information about their payments when they file.
  • Advance stimulus payments received separately are not taxable, and they do not reduce the taxpayer’s refund when they file in 2021.
  • Those who didn’t receive a payment or only received a partial payment may be eligible to claim the Recovery Rebate Credit when they file their 2020 tax return. Tax preparation software, including IRS Free File, will help taxpayers figure the amount.

 

CNET – Stimulus Checks and your 2020 Taxes: What you Need to Know when you File


COVID Relief Bill Tax Breaks

CNBC – COVID Relief Bill Tax Breaks


Unemployment Fraud during COVID

 Unemployment fraud is coming to light as people start preparing taxes.  If you have concerns about or believe you have been a victim of unemployment fraud, do the following:

Unemployment Resources

  • Massachusetts COVID-19 Unemployment Information
  • Unemployment Fraud Alert

    There has been an increase in fraud targeting state unemployment insurance programs and we want to ensure that you are able to protect yourself. Across Mass General Brigham, we have received reports of employees being notified by mail or a phone call that they filed a Pandemic Unemployment Assistance claim when they did not. If you receive a notification, it is possible that your social security number or other information may have been compromised.

Unemployment fraud is also coming to light as people start preparing taxes.  If you have concerns about or believe you have been a victim of unemployment fraud, do the following:

Health Insurance

All health insurance carriers are required to provide medically necessary testing, treatment, and telehealth services for COVID-19. This must be provided without a copay, use of coinsurance or deductible

Financial Resources for Pet Care

Full Mass General Brigham EAP Financial Well-being Resources

Housing Resources (COVID)

The Mass General Brigham Employee Assistance Program is available to help you problem solve housing issues, such as those related to rent or mortgage, and housing searches. The State-wide Moratorium on non-Essential Evictions expired in October. This was replaced by the Federal Moratorium, which is in effect until June 30, 2021. Below are some resources to help you understand the current rules for rent and mortgages and navigate any changes going forward.

For further assistance, contact the EAP at 866-724-4327.

Financial Assistance with Housing Costs

Information on MA Utilities and Fuel Assistance during the Pandemic

Full Mass General Brigham EAP Housing Resources

Stress, Mental Health & Substance Misuse (Support for Employees and Managers)

The COVID-19 Pandemic and other events of the past year have been a challenge to navigate on both a practical and emotional level. We are all trying to manage our lives and responsibilities related to work, family or community. It is important to take a step back to remind ourselves how to cope in the midst of stressful circumstances. Healthcare workers are accustomed to being caretakers. However, in order to do our jobs effectively, we must remember to meet our own health and wellbeing needs. Below are some resources relevant to self-care and stress management.

Please contact the Mass General Brigham EAP at 866-724-4327 if you have concerns about yourself, a colleague or a loved one.

Samaritans Helpline – Suicide Prevention – 877-870-4673

Brigham Buddies Therapy Dogs live via Zoom
Fri, Apr 23, 2021
11:30 AM – 12:00 PM

See the Brigham Buddies Therapy Dogs live via Zoom and bring a pet (if you have one) to show during the session. Please feel free to bring a pet to show. Register here or email Yi Yi Lu and let her know if you intend to show your own pet.

Managing Stress and Mental Health

Grief and Grieving during COVID-19

Experiencing grief at any time is sad and can be challenging. However, grieving during COVID-19 can be even more difficult, as we cannot always access traditional coping mechanisms, supports and rituals. The Pandemic requires distance, which is counter-intuitive to how many of us grieve. Additionally, we are faced with “grief on top of grief”, also known as cumulative grief. This may lead to less time, attention and support to heal from each loss.  Despite COVID-19, we can still find meaningful ways to grieve and take care of ourselves and others. This is a unique process for each individual. Here are some grief support resources which you may find helpful. If you are experiencing prolonged or severe symptoms of grief, call the EAP at 1-866-724-4327

Coping with the Loss of Patients

Articles and Books About Grief

Online Grief Support

Spiritual Care Resources from Mass General Brigham

How Managers Can Help the Health Care Work Force Cope with Grief during COVID

Mass General Brigham and its employees have been working overtime to respond to the COVID-19 Pandemic and to support patients and families with compassion, medical innovation, clinical expertise. Everyone is committed to contributing during this unprecedented time. However, many may be experiencing considerable stress and grief, personally or related to patient loss and secondary grief.
The Employee Assistance Program is available to provide assistance to managers, work groups and individuals during this time. Below are some resources to help you support your employees. Please contact the EAP if you need consultations about assisting your work group.

Full Mass General Brigham EAP Grief Resources

Supports for School and Learning (COVID)

Under normal circumstances, balancing work and family responsibilities can be a challenge. This year there are added stresses with accessing and finding affordable care, managing children’s learning needs and helping children cope emotionally.  The Mass General Brigham Employee Assistance Program is available to help you and your family navigate these challenging times. Below are some resources that you might find useful. For further assistance, contact the EAP at 866-724-4327.

 

Massachusetts and City of Boston Back to School Information

Childcare (COVID)

Mass General Brigham Childcare Resources

Visit MGB Childcare Resources via AskMyHR – for full resources and information on:

  • Mass General Brigham Childcare Centers for (on-site regular and back-up care)
  • Bright Horizons (on-site and in-home care)
  • Care.com (in-home care)
  • Other vendors (SitterCity and College Nannies in-home care) Mass General Brigham Childcare Centers for (on-site regular and back-up care)
  • Bright Horizons (on-site and in-home care)
  • Care.com (in-home care)
  • Other vendors – SitterCity and College Nannies (in-home care)

Finding Childcare and Subsidy Opportunities in the Community

Full Mass General Brigham EAP Childcare Resources

Resources to Help Parents and Children Cope with COVID-19
Staying Safe from Intimate Partner & Child Abuse (COVID)

With physical distancing and families spending more time at home, these are potentially stressful and dangerous times for survivors of intimate partner abuse and their children. Below are some helpful resources that you might find useful.  Mass General Brigham employees and household members concerned about their safety can contact the EAP at 866-724-4327 for assistance.

Hotlines and Other Resources

Mass General Brigham - Resources for Intimate Partners Abuse

Protecting Children from Abuse during the Pandemic

MA experts indicate there has been a 50% drop in child abuse reports during COVID. Given the isolation of many families and added stressors (COVID fears, financial worries and home-schooling challenges), more children may be at risk than before COVID. Here are some resources to help protect children during these stressful times.

Full Mass General Brigham EAP Intimate Partner Abuse, Sexual Assault & Trauma Resources

Staying Healthy while Working Remotely (COVID)

A significant segment of the Mass General Brigham workforce will continue to work from home, either part or full-time for the foreseeable future. Some may thrive with remote work and others may have preferred to be on site. Although it may be “business as usual” after several months of remote work, it’s important to take a step back to consider how to stay motivated, healthy and connected. Below are some ideas for being productive through routine, balance and self-kindness. This is a trial and error process and may not look the same for everyone.

For further assistance, please contact the EAP at 866-724-4327.

Workspace Health - Maintaining Boundaries and being Productive

  • Have a set work schedule and daily routine (as you do when you work on site). Maintain regular log-on and log-off times
  • Dress for work everyday
  • Create a “commute” where you are not working but have some routine (exercise, reading etc.) to ease into and out of the workday
  • Have a designated and separate workspace (as feasible). Have meals away from your “desk” and don’t work in the kitchen if possible
  • Have a signal (sign etc.) to indicate to others when there are blocks of time in which you can’t be disturbed
  • Take planned breaks and a designated lunch
  • Remove news and social media alerts from your devices while working
  • Put your mobile phone on airplane mode or off while working
  • Do not take work breaks on a screen
  • Find ways (calendar, tasks, paper or eraser board) to organize your workday and set your priorities
  • Make sure confidential work conversations, clinical interactions and content are kept private
  • Don’t leave devices or paperwork accessible (just as you would not at work)
  • Lock your computer when away from your desk
  • Use only password protected Wi-Fi networks

Your Physical Health while Working from Home

Spending more time at home has taken a toll on physical health for many of us. Below are some quick reminders on how to maximize health, despite having less access to regular routines and outside resources.

Staying Healthy while at your Desk

Exercise

Nutrition

Getting Enough Sleep and Keeping a Regular Sleep Schedule

Full Mass General Brigham EAP Wellness Resources

Emotional Health

Coping with Loneliness and Isolation

  • Schedule regular check-ins (group and individual) with colleagues
  • Have a buddy system
  • Create on-line groups for those who have common interests
  • Maintain connection with colleagues that are not about work
  • Share ideas for exercise, healthy eating, photos of kids, pets etc.
  • Don’t avoid asking questions or asking for help when working remotely
  • Meet friends safely outdoors or inside with masks, social distancing etc.
  • Exchanges (cookies, letters)
  • Establish group fitness breaks
  • Promote workgroup “challenges” such as weight loss or fitness competitions
  • McLean Hospital – Resources to Combat Loneliness `

Maintaining a Positive Attitude

  • It’s Ok to acknowledge challenges and losses, even if they are not viewed as being as serious as those of others
  • Try to limit venting and negative filtering. Some discussion of frustration is unavoidable and can be cathartic, but there is a point where complaining will perpetuate a negative outlook and impact mental health and ability to cope.
  • Remember to praise employees and colleagues for work done well, just as you would when at work
  • Practice gratitude
  • Let go of things you can’t control
  • Mass General Brigham EAP – Tools and Advice on Staying Optimistic

Mindfulness and Stress Reduction 

Planning for the Post-Pandemic Transition

We are all looking forward to returning to the activities and connections we enjoyed before COVID-19 became a part of our lives.  This is likely to be a process that takes place over time. There may be a range of emotions (from excitement to anxiety)  associated with the post-pandemic transition. We will provide relevant information here as the re-opening progresses.

Mass General Brigham COVID Transition Updates and Guidelines

Update: Remote work, in-person meetings and events, and non-employee onsite activity
Nearly 75% of our employees are now vaccinated and the percentage of vaccinated Massachusetts residents is climbing daily. There is reason to believe that we can start to think about post-pandemic work life. As a result, we have updated the following policies:

Remote work
To address concerns about workplace density, all Mass General Brigham employees whose work can be performed remotely should continue to do so through August 31. A system-wide team is developing recommendations and an implementation plan that will guide where work will be performed over the long term. We know there are individuals and situations that may require staff to return to more onsite work. Managers can allow this, including collaboration meetings, provided all infection control guidelines are followed. Managers must monitor the density of their work environment and, if necessary, rotate employees to allow for the onsite work to be accomplished. More information can be found here.

In person meetings and events
We have learned that much of our non-clinical work and many of our meetings can be conducted virtually. Our workforce’s willingness to be innovative and agile helped make the virtual format successful. While we continue to encourage that most meetings be conducted through online platforms (Teams/Zoom), we recognize the value of in-person collaboration and have issued guidelines for in-person meetings.

Events
As the end of the academic year approaches, we should ensure that we celebrate the accomplishments of our students and trainees. There are safe ways to accomplish this, and we provide the following guidance:

Non-employee onsite activities
Non-employees, summer interns and students whose work can be performed remotely should do so until further guidance is provided. We recognize that some activities involving non-employees must be done onsite, such as:

    • Students in research areas doing in-lab experiments
    • Visiting professors, including those who will be involved in activities with close contact, e.g. those doing ward rounds or simulator training sessions
    • Students whose learning objectives require onsite mentoring

Anyone seeking an exemption to this remote work policy for non-employees must fill out and submit this form to request. Outside vendors, such as case management liaisons, should continue to do their work remotely. Clinical areas cannot support additional density at this point.

Mass General Brigham will continue to monitor infection and hospitalization rates and the numbers of employees vaccinated. If they continue to trend in the right direction, we may further loosen these guidelines. For more information please visit Ask My HR.

While we are hopeful that 2021 will bring a return to normalcy, we must stay vigilant. Even vaccinated individuals can be carriers of COVID-19 and transmit to others, including patients and employees who may be at risk for severe disease.

Online platforms should be used whenever possible to minimize the density of such gatherings, however, a combination of online-only and hybrid models (some attendees in-person, some online) should be used when in-person capacity is limited.

Commonwealth of MA – Re-opening Updates

Restriction Changes for those who have been fully Vaccinated

  • CDC Post-vaccination Guidelines
  • Per the Commonwealth of Mass Travel Guidelines Persons Who Have Been Completely Vaccinated for COVID-19: Individuals who have received two doses of either the Moderna or Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines OR who have received a single dose of the Janssen vaccine, more than 14 days ago and who do not have symptoms, do not need to obtain a negative test prior to traveling to, or quarantine upon arrival to, Massachusetts.  COVID-19 vaccinated individuals arriving in Massachusetts must have documentation of their vaccination(s), including the date(s) of administration, available if asked. This exception does not include COVID-19-recovered individuals who have symptoms of COVID-19, who must follow all testing and quarantine guidance outlined in the travel rules.

Helping Pets and their Caregivers

Senior and Family Caregiver Support (COVID)

Seniors are one population that has been significantly impacted by COVID-19. This includes the severity of the clinical affects of COVID and the collateral issues associated with isolation, loneliness and anxiety. Below are some resources to help seniors and their loved ones navigate this unprecedented time. Please contact the EAP at 866-724-4327 if you need further assistance for yourself or a family member.

Support for Families of Seniors

Being a family caregiver and managing care for senior loved ones is an important and often challenging job. During COVID, providing care has become even more complicated. Below are some resources to help families with seniors ensure that their loved ones are cared for and safe during this time.

Resources for Eldercare from Mass General Brigham (via Bright Horizons)

The Years Ahead free online platform, available through Bright Horizons, connects you with elder care tools and resources — including elder care planning and referrals. Below is some information on the program. For updated Information on all dependent care resources, visit FAQs on Ask myHR

  • Through Years Ahead, you can take a needs assessment online for your loved one, navigate through elder care options, access elder care resources, and get guidance in finding assistance programs.
  • To access these tools and resources, go to the Bright Horizons website and click on Elder Care Support under Bright Horizons Enhanced Family Supports. Then choose the “Get Online Support” option. This will bring you to your employer’s Sittercity homepage, where you can click to choose the Years Ahead resource and then create a username and password to gain access.
  • Senior Care Advisors are available to answer questions you may have surrounding the process of finding care for your aging loved one, from the initial conversations and decisions to determining the right caregiver or facility and moving your loved one. Each Senior Care Advisor holds a Master’s in Social Work and goes through a comprehensive course to become a CSA (Certified Senior Advisor). The CSA credential represents a qualified professional who understands the key health, social, and financial factors that are important to the majority of seniors. The CSA is accredited by NCCA (The National Commission for Certifying Agencies). Senior Care Advisors are available via phone Monday through Friday, 9 a.m.–5 p.m. CT.
  • There is no cost to use the Years Ahead website resource. The cost of care through the Years Ahead agencies and facilities will vary based on the level of care and, in the case of in-home providers, the number of hours per week. Agencies and facilities in the network will provide information regarding costs with you individually.

Full Mass General Brigham EAP Eldercare Resources

Supports for Veterans and Families (COVID)

Veterans have been particularly impacted during the COVID-19 Pandemic. Below are supports available to help veterans and their family members stay healthy and connected.
Please contact the EAP at 866-724-4327 for further assistance.

Resources for Persons with Disabilities (COVID)
Navigating the Pandemic in the LBGTQ Communities (COVID)
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