MHAC’s COVID-19 Updates and Resources: 5/15-5/21

May 20, 2020

In addition to an evolving COVID-19 resource page, MHAC is continuing to collect and share updates on COVID-19 from state government, federal agencies like the Centers for Disease Control, and other key stakeholders.

These updates are to help and inform a wide range of individuals and partners, including communities working to become more age- and dementia friendly.

Please see the latest updates below:

  • Baker Administration Announces ‘Reopening Massachusetts’ Report

The Baker-Polito Administration released Reopening Massachusetts, the Reopening Advisory Board’s report, which details a four-phased strategy to responsibly reopen businesses and activities while continuing to fight COVID-19.

The Massachusetts Healthy Aging Collaborative submitted written comments to the Reopening Advisory Board as reported in a previous blog post.

The Administration also released a new “Safer At Home” Advisory, which instructs residents to stay at home unless engaging with newly opened activities, as a way to continue limiting the spread of COVID-19. Starting today, based on current public health data and trends, Massachusetts will begin Phase 1 of a cautious reopening, and workplaces that are permitted to open are required to follow new safety protocols and guidance.

Learn more about the reopening process:



  • Tufts Health Plan Foundation Announces Third Wave of Funding to Address Coronavirus Impact

Tufts Health Plan Foundation announced $170,000 in grants to 10 nonprofit organizations, part of the $1 million it committed to support community efforts addressing coronavirus in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Hampshire and Connecticut. In total, 49 organizations on the front lines of the pandemic have received funding.

See the full announcement, including the list of recent grantees here.

  • Senior Medicare Patrol Issues Scam Alert Regarding Stimulus Checks

Most Americans with annual incomes under $100,000 have begun receiving COVID-19 Economic Stimulus Payments.

If an individual regularly file federal income tax returns or if you receive payments from the Social Security Administration, your stimulus payment most likely will be automatically deposited into the bank account on file. Two weeks afterwards you will receive a paper notice in the mail indicating your payment was disbursed. You may receive a check in the mail instead of an electronic transfer. You do not need to take any action.

The full alert from the Senior Medicare Patrol is available here.

  • Dementia Friends Massachusetts Offering Free Zoom Training

Dementia Friends Massachusetts is a volunteer-based public awareness program that is helping to change the way people talk, act and think about dementia. Dementia Friendly Millbury Action Team is working with Dementia Friends Massachusetts to offer a free Zoom training on Friday, May 29 from 1:00 to 2:30 for people who would like to become volunteer Dementia Friends Champions. Participants will learn to lead a Dementia Friends information session for members of their community. (The information session can be led via telephone or online.)

During this time of COVID-19, it continues to be vital to raise awareness about the needs of the large and growing number of people who are affected by dementia. These individuals, along with their care partners, are particularly affected by the pandemic. Raising awareness can also raise spirits, because community actions like becoming a Dementia Friend reminds us that we are all connected, and gives us an opportunity to help one another.

Register for the training here by May 27.

  • Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Push Assurance that COVID-19 Tests are Covered.

An alert released by CMS offers assurances that Medicare covers COVID-19 tests with no out-of-pocket costs.

If an older adult receives Medicare home health services, a home health nurse can collect a sample during a visit. Nurses working for rural health clinics and federally qualified health clinics also can collect samples in beneficiaries’ homes under certain conditions. CMS also suggests “parking lot” sites.

For so-called “homebound” older adults, Medicare will pay for a trained laboratory technician to come to a person’s home or residential nursing home to collect a test sample. (This doesn’t apply to people in a skilled nursing facility on a short-term stay under Medicare Part A, as the costs for this test, including sample collection, are already covered as part of the stay.)

  • EOEA Promotes Family Caregiver Support Program During COVID-19

The Executive Office of Elder Affairs (EOEA) reminds residents that the Massachusetts Family Caregiver Support Program is available and free to help those caring for a family member. A Caregiver Specialist will help create a plan and provide tips and support for eligible caregivers.

MHAC encourages stakeholders and age-and dementia friendly community coalitions to promote this new flier available from EOEA.