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Helping Local Health Organizations Fight COVID-19, 24/7

Helping Local Health Organizations Fight COVID-19, 24/7

The COVID-19 pandemic has placed unprecedented pressure on hospitals, local health departments, emergency management organizations, and other health providers across the country and the Commonwealth. But in Northeastern Massachusetts, these local hospitals and agencies haven’t had to face the crisis alone: MAPC has provided essential support to these local health organizations through its work as the sponsoring organization for the Region 3 Health and Medical Coordinating Coalition (HMCC). 

The HMCC is a regional coalition of public health departments, hospitals, emergency medical services, community health centers, long-term care facilities, and emergency management organizations from communities across Northeastern Massachusetts. The HMCC facilitates communication and information-sharing between the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH) and stakeholders in the region.  

Since February, the HMCC has been activated to provide support to all healthcare facilities in Region 3 during the COVID-19 pandemic 

Procuring PPE and Testing Equipment

One part of this work is completing resource requests for personal protective equipment (PPE) and testing supplies. A 24/7 duty officer is responsible for answering pages and emails from stakeholders and collaborating with MDPH to fill requests for PPE and testing equipment 

The duty officer maintains communication with stakeholders throughout the process, providing additional guidance and information. To date in Region 3, there have been approximately:

1,154
requests
for PPE and testing supplies

360
duty officer pages for assistance

1,300
emails for assistance and guidance

MAPC has procured emergency response equipment and supplies on behalf of the hospitals, medical reserve corp units, and regional public health coalitions. Staff have contacted over 200 vendors to procure hard-to-find general health and sanitary supplies, as well as equipment more specific to fighting COVID-19 for healthcare facilities and communities in the region. 

Staff have also administered federal funding, coming through MDPH, that goes directly to hospitals to support expenses related to PPE, training, staff time, and minor building alterations due to COVID-19 response efforts. 

Promoting Flu Vaccinations

The team is currently focused on aiding municipal flu vaccination efforts across the region. With funding from the MDPH Bureau of Infectious Disease and Laboratory Sciences (BIDLS) Immunization Division, staff have worked to disseminate funding to local health departments to increase influenza vaccination rates. This funding goes directly to the communities to hire temporary staff, cover overtime expenses, advertise clinics, rent clinic space, upgrade vaccine storage units, and purchase vaccine clinic supplies including PPE. 

Helping Hospitals Communicate With Each Other

The HMCC facilitates a regional hospital planning process established by MDPH to promote collaboration. HMCC staff organize and facilitate regular meetings among hospitals in the region to help them proactively identify and communicate about capacity challenges. 

For more information on the work of the Region 3 HMCC, please contact Beth Robert, Region 3 HMCC Program Manager at erobert@mapc.org.