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Reopening Health and Human Services in Massachusetts

Health and Human Services reopening plans and guidance

During the COVID-19 public health emergency, in order to ensure Massachusetts’ health care system had the capacity to address the pandemic, some health care services and procedures were limited or temporarily put on hold, while many services were conducted remotely using telehealth. Emergency services and other essential health and human services continued during this time. 

Phase 1: On May 18, the Commonwealth issued new guidelines to hospitals and health care providers in accordance with the state’s four-phase reopening plan, to allow some non-emergency procedures or deferred care that may now need attention. Hospitals and Community Health Centers began this reopening May 18, and all other providers began on May 25.

Phase 2: On June 6, the Commonwealth issued new guidelines allowing health care providers at the start of Phase 2 to incrementally resume in-person elective, non-urgent procedures and services, including routine office visits, dental visits, and vision care, subject to ongoing compliance with public health and safety standards. In addition, beginning June 24, 2020, providers may resume elective cosmetic procedures, in compliance with public health guidance. All other in-person medical, behavioral health, dental and vision services may resume, except in-person day programs, which will begin on Monday, July 6.

Phase 3: On Monday, July 6, health care providers may continue to provide in-person procedures and services as authorized in Phase 2, with the addition of certain group treatment programs and day programs.All providers must maintain compliance with public health and safety standards.Prioritizing telehealth, meeting public health and infection control standards, adhering to prioritization policies, ensuring equitable access to care, and monitoring patient volume must continue. Moving into Phase 3 for the health care system is contingent on Massachusetts maintaining sufficient statewide hospital bed capacity at newly revised thresholds.

Find more information on reopening plans, phases, guidance, and forms on this page.

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