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DMH COVID-19 Facility and Telework Information

Information for staff, patients, visitors, and providers about DMH and Licensed Facilities, Visitor Information, Telework, and more.

The COVID-19 Outbreak is challenging for all of us. While some of our day-to-day operations have changed in accordance with Federal and State directives, the Department of Mental Health remains committed to the individuals we serve, as well as to the safety of our staff. The information below is intended to provide you with updates to our practices and protocols as part of our efforts to ensure the safety of staff and individuals served while contributing to efforts to slowing the spread of COVID-19. If you have questions or concerns, please attempt to reach out to your caseworker, supervisor, or manager first before trying one of the contact numbers or emails below.

Table of Contents

COVID-19 Guidance, Bulletins, and Directives

Commissioner's Directive 20-01:

COVID-19 Emergency Directive 20-01: Inpatient Facility Operations.

 

DMH COVID-19 Licensing Bulletins:

Bulletin #21-01 - COVID Dedicated Units

February 12, 2021 - In light of the continuing COVID-19 pandemic, this bulletin highlights the potential need for facilities to stand up COVID-19 Dedicated Units for the admission of persons who require inpatient psychiatric treatment and also are in need of an environment able to meet the infection control needs of active COVID-19 infection. Such units are required to support behavioral health patients who are diagnosed with active COVID-19 infection that does not require inpatient medical treatment.

This bulletin announces a process for Tier 2 hospitals and some Tier 1 hospitals (see DMH Licensing Bulletin #20-05R for a full description of Tier 1 and Tier 2 hospitals) to develop COVID-19 Dedicated Units when the need exists for these units.

 

DMH bulletin #20-06 - Resumption of DMH Facility Licensing Surveys

November 4, 2020 - In light of the current COVID-19 pandemic, this bulletin highlights current regulations and changes to orders extending the expiration dates of DMH Licenses. This bulletin applies to all inpatient Facilities licensed, operated or contracted by the Department of Mental Health (DMH). This bulletin rescinds portions of DMH Licensing Bulletin #20-01 as it relates to Facility Licensing Extensions.

 

DMH Licensing Bulletin #20-05R - COVID-19 Infection Control and Other Requirements in Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic

Updated September 1, 2020 - This bulletin, and the attachments hereto are issued pursuant to Department of Mental Health (DMH) regulations 104 CMR 27.03(5)&(8), which provide that DMH “may establish clinical competencies and additional operational standards for care and treatment of patients admitted to facilities licensed pursuant to 104 CMR 27.00, including for specialty populations.”

 

DMH Licensing Bulletin #20-04R - COVID-19 Pandemic Guidance

Updated November 16, 2020 - In light of the current COVID-19 pandemic, this bulletin highlights current regulations and policies that support behavioral health patients leaving Emergency Departments as soon as possible once it is determined that a psychiatric inpatient level of care is required. In recognition of the vital role of acute psychiatric facilities in providing safe appropriate care for individuals in psychiatric crisis, DMH is highlighting licensed facilities’ obligations to admit and treat patients meeting admission criteria within their license class. The Department of Mental Health (DMH) is also enhancing its capacity to provide assistance through the Expedited Psychiatric Inpatient Admission process (EPIA), so we may all play our role in keeping patients and health care workers safe.

 

DMH Licensing Bulletin #20-03 - Admission and Treatment

May 1, 2020 - This bulletin concerns the admission and treatment of patients who are confirmed positive for COVID-19, or who are identified as Persons Under Investigation/presumed positive (Patients with COVID-19). It also addresses the use of isolation, seclusion and restraint for Patients with COVID-19 when such interventions are necessary to reduce the risk of exposure to the coronavirus. This bulletin applies to all inpatient Facilities licensed, operated or contracted by the Department of Mental Health (DMH).

 

DMH Licensing Bulletin #20-02 COVID-19 Emergency Guidance Authorizing Independent Practice Registered Nurses

April 3, 2020 - In an effort to reduce regulatory burden for DMH Licensed Entities during the COVID-19 pandemic, but to assure continued adequacy and safety of Inpatient Facility milieu, we are issuing the following guidance based upon the ORDER OF THE COMMISSIONER OF PUBLIC HEALTH AUTHORIZING INDEPENDENT PRACTICE OF ADVANCED PRACTICE REGISTERED NURSES:

 

DMH Licensing Bulletin #20-01 - COVID-19 Emergency Guidance: Minimum Required Nursing Care Hours, Facility Licensing Extension. 

March 21, 2020 - In an effort to reduce regulatory burden for DMH Licensed Entities during the COVID-19 pandemic, but to assure continued adequacy and safety of Inpatient Facility milieu, we are issuing the following guidance:

 

DMH Operated and Contracted Facility Bulletins

Department of Mental Health Division of Clinical and Professional Services Licensing Division Bulletin - #20-03 DMH Operated Facility Bulletin 20-01. May 1, 2020 - Admission and Treatment of Patients with COVID-19

This bulletin concerns the admission and treatment of patients who are confirmed positive for COVID-19, or who are identified as Persons Under Investigation/presumed positive (Patients with COVID-19).

Guidance and directives from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH), and other state agencies related to COVID-19.

Additional Resources

Contact Information

The contacts below are active at this time. If you have questions or concerns, please attempt to reach out to your caseworker, supervisor, or manager first before trying one of the contact numbers or emails below. 

Statwide contacts:

Contact info by DMH Service Area:

Central Massachusetts Area

If you are receiving services or would like to receive services, and have questions, every Central Massachusetts service location has a staff person available to answer questions at the numbers below.

Western Massachusetts Area

If you are receiving services or would like to receive services, and have questions, every Western Massachusetts service location has a staff person available to answer questions at the numbers below.

Northeast Area

If you are receiving services or would like to receive services, and have questions, every Northeastern Massachusetts service location has a staff person available to answer questions at the numbers below.

Metro Boston Area Office 

If you are receiving services or would like to receive services and have questions in the Metro Boston area, a staff person is available to answer questions at 617-626-9200

Southeast Area

If you are receiving services or would like to receive services, and have questions, every Central Massachusetts service location has a staff person available to answer questions at the numbers below.

Visitor Access to DMH Hospitals and Facilities

The purpose of this policy is to provide guidelines to allow patients at DMH Facilities and the DPH Public Health Public Health Hospital System (PHHS) the opportunity to have visitors on a limited basis during the COVID-19 pandemic while adhering to recommended CDC and DPH guidelines. 

 

Intensive Residential Treatment Program (IRTP)

Effective 3/19/21, a revised Pass Agreement with Covid-19 prevention practices included in the form (a link to the form is included below) will be utilized and an updated return from pass with a parent/LAR protocol will be adopted. 

Residential and Congregate Care

EOHHS issued surveillance testing guidance for organizations that operate residential congregate care programs, including DMH Group Living Environments (GLEs): EOHHS Congregate Care Surveillance Testing Guidance

 

Residential and Congregate Care Visitation Guidance

EOHHS Issued Updated Guidance Effective 3/19/2021

 

Congregate Care Surveillance Testing Guidance

Congregate Care Infection Control Resources

Click here for infection control resources for Congregate Care Settings, developed through a partnership with Commonwealth Medicine, in coordination with the Executive Office of Health and Human Services (EOHHS), the Department of Public Health (DPH) and state agencies.

Residential and Congregate Care Visitation Guidance

 

Additional Resources

Access/Drop-In Center List and Contact Info

Drop-in “Access Centers” offer a welcoming, staffed space where young adults with mental health needs can find supportive community, develop leadership skills, and get the help they need to pursue their life goals. Access Centers are low-barrier services (no application/service authorization needed to utilize these services) which are open to all members of the community in which they are located

*COVID-19 UPDATE - Contact your Access Center for details on current services available. Some facilities are offering virtual peer support.

 

Location

Access Center/Agency

Contact & Social Media

Arlington

STEPS- Wayside Youth & Family

steps@waysideyouth.org

Instagram: @STEPSyoungadults

 

Braintree

TRACS-Aspire Health Alliance

Leah Gannon

lgannon@aspirehealthalliance.org

Office/Cell: 617-769-7246

https://www.aspirehealthalliance.org/our-programs/for-young-adults-teens/life-skills/

 

Framingham

Tempo-Wayside Youth & Family

Troy Fenandes

508-879-1424

https://www.facebook.com/tempoyoungadults/

 

Emergency shelter on call number: 774-279-5557

 

Gloucester

YOUnity-CFFS & JRI

Kate Wise, Dir., 978-471-0276, kdaltonwise@jri.org

Taylor Mimms, Youth Coor./Peer Spec.: 978-604-1889, tmimms@jri.org

Michael Tugendhat, TIP, 978-491-6694, mtugendhat@jri.org

Shaina Doberman, TIP, 978-290-0710, sdoberman@jri.org

 

 

 

Lawrence

 

 

YouForward-Vinfen

 

 

 

Danisa Batista- Director- batistad@vinfen.org

978-495-6429

Wendy Mancia- Youth Coordinator

manciaw@vinfen.org

978-807.7553

https://www.facebook.com/youforwardMA/

 

 

Lowell

 

Mill You-Vinfen

 

Tamika Miller, TIP Facilitator, millerta@vinfen.org  call or text 978-835-2416

 

https://www.facebook.com/CTIYS/?__tn__=%2Cd%2CP-R&eid=ARBsqfhr9sTPd8FTB5EHDp8ySxN5OYfABOum8TF_AgqoX3jGmFXjWPufQs236ZsGd2PmbPJprOpKDsFo

 

Springfield

Impact - Gandara

Christina (Recovery Navigator) – cdillon@gandaracenter.org  call or text 413-296-6257

Kristine (Site Supervisor)- krodriguez@gandaracenter.org  call or text 413-296-6264

Michael (Joel) (Peer Mentor) – mperez@gandaracenter.org  call or Text 413-269-6143

Nate (Peer Mentor) – nhernadez@gandaracenter.org  call or text 413-612-8913

 

https://www.facebook.com/impactaccesscenter/

 

Worcester

Zia – Kiva Center & Open Sky

For individual support: 774-293-2209

To find out about zoom meetings text: 774-242-6364

Email: Vespermoore@centralmassrlc.org

Cristaliz.arroyo@centralmassrlc.org

Shayn.mcdonald@centralmassrlc.org

 

https://www.facebook.com/ZiaCenter/

Stopping the spread of COVID-19 at DMH programs and facilities

I am writing to you as the Area Medical Director of the Central Mass DMH to share information about trying to stop the spread of COVID-19 (also called the coronavirus). It is very important to try to stop the spread, because it is a virus that no humans have immunity to yet. Many people will have mild symptoms, but it can be dangerous for people with underlying medical conditions, like COPD, asthma, diabetes, heart problems, or people undergoing chemotherapy. People who smoke cigarettes are also at increased risk of more serious medical problems. 

The best way to stop the spread is to practice “social distancing”, meaning to stay at least six feet away from others. Many stores are also closed, so staying home/in the program is also a good idea.

It is very important to wash your hands frequently, and to avoid touching your eyes, mouth, and nose, as these are places the virus can get in and make you sick.

You may see staff cleaning door handles, counter tops and tables more frequently, as the virus can stay on hard surfaces for several days.

If you are feeling ill, staff may ask you to wear a mask and gloves. This is both for your own protection and to keep others, staff and peers, from getting sick. It is not a punishment, or meant to single you out, just to keep everyone safe.

Please don’t share cups, silverware, cooking utensils or smoking materials with staff or peers.

If you are able to get outside without being near other people, please do, the fresh air will be good for you.

Even though we need to be physically distant from each other, we want to encourage folks to reach out for social supports, by phone, by internet, by Face Time, however you are able to stay connected with people that are important to you.

We don’t know how long this will last, but it will be at least a month. The more people follow these rules, the faster the outbreak will end.

Thank you so much for following these rules. It is hard on everyone, but very important to help people stay healthy and allow people to be safe in their homes and communities.

Please feel free to ask staff any questions you have. They will get answers for you. Please stay safe and we will get through this together.

-Dr. Tina Render Area Medical Director, Central Mass DMH

Additional Resources

Telework Information and Guides for Commonwealth Employees

HRD Telework for Commonwealth employees who have been approved for telework can find the information needed to perform their duties remotely here, including how to use a VPN, how to access email or voicemail out of the office, and how to host remote meetings.

 

A series of how-to guides and videos from colleagues at DDS about setting up telework tools such as VPN, cell phones, and Meditech VPN. 

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