Information about coronavirus
Updated October 7, 2021
Berkshire Fallon Health Collaborative (BFHC) is monitoring public health developments and guidance related to novel coronavirus (COVID-19). The safety and well-being of our members is a top priority for BFHC.
Vaccines for COVID-19
Getting the vaccine
Now that COVID-19 vaccines are available, we know there are a lot of questions about the vaccines and about who will be able get a vaccine and when.
- For the most up-to-date information about how and when to get your vaccine in Massachusetts, visit https://www.mass.gov/covid-19-vaccine.
- For answers to your common questions about COVID-19 vaccines, visit https://www.mass.gov/info-details/covid-19-vaccine-frequently-asked-questions
It’s important to know that vaccines go through more testing than any other pharmaceuticals. Before any vaccine is made available, it must go through rigorous development and testing. For more information regarding vaccine safety, visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/safety.html.
Coverage for COVID-19 vaccines
Once eligible to receive a vaccine, BFHC members will have not have to pay if they choose to be vaccinated. BFHC also covers the flu shot vaccination in full and we recommend that all members receive the flu shot.
What to do if you have symptoms
- Check your symptoms with Buoy, a free online tool available to all Massachusetts residents.
You can use Buoy to check your symptoms, figure out if you should be tested for coronavirus, and learn about care options available to you.
- If you have any of the symptoms below, you should contact your primary care provider. It's not recommended that you go directly to urgent care or an emergency room unless your symptoms are an emergency, you are unable to care for yourself, or you are advised by a doctor or other provider.
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Repeated shaking with chills
- Muscle pain
- Sore throat
- New loss of taste or smell
- Wash hands often with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds.
- Cover coughs and sneezes with your elbow or with tissues (not with your hand).
- Avoid touching your face and have tissues available.
- To help stop the spread of COVID-19, you should stay home. If you must go out, avoid crowds and practice social distancing—do not be within 6 feet of individuals in a public space. The CDC also recommends that you wear a cloth face covering if you have to be out in public. How to make and wear cloth face coverings (CDC).
- You can access telehealth services from all network providers who are offering these services. To schedule a telehealth visit, you can contact your provider at the same phone number you would use to request an in-office visit.
- You can use Teladoc to get access to doctors and nurses by phone or online.
- You can use Care Connect (our 24/7 nurse call line) to receive medical services or advice at no cost to you. Call 1-877-219-0873 (TDD/TTY: 1-800-848-0160).
- You can also access physical therapy/occupational therapy/speech therapy (PT/OT/ST) services through both telephonic telehealth visits and video telehealth visits. This will be effective until further notice.
We are waiving early refill limits on drug prescriptions for all BFHC members who fill their medications, including specialty medications, at any in-network pharmacy.
You can also receive early refills for certain maintenance medication prescriptions up to a 90-day supply ahead of schedule. Your pharmacy simply needs to submit code 13 (SCC13) for coverage.
Some pharmacies are offering free home delivery of medications. Contact your pharmacy directly to learn more.
Maintaining emotional health and well-being
Taking care of your emotional health and well-being during this time is important. Decreasing stress can help bolster your immune system and can help keep you and others around you healthy.
- During this time of social distancing, consider creative ways to fight isolation and loneliness which can worsen some mental health symptoms.
- There's a lot of information being shared about COVID-19. Not all of it is accurate and the bombardment of news and updates can add to an already stressful situation. To stay informed, but not overwhelmed, bookmark the websites in the "For more information" section below.
- If you need mental health support
- Contact your behavioral health provider to see if they can schedule a telehealth visit. Telehealth is a virtual therapy session. Many providers are now offering this option.
- Fallon Health's behavioral health partner, Beacon Health Options, has information and resources to help you. Visit their website to learn more.
- Contact SAMHSA's Disaster Distress Helpline. The Helpline provides 24/7, 365-day-a-year crisis counseling and support to people experiencing emotional distress related to natural or human-caused disasters. Call 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746 to connect with a trained crisis counselor.
- Contact the Massachusetts Emergency Services Program/Mobile Crisis Intervention (ESP/MCI) - 1-877-382-1609.
- You can find additional information and resources at https://www.mass.gov/info-details/maintaining-emotional-health-well-being-during-the-covid-19-outbreak.
Food assistance during the COVID-19 emergency
If you need food assistance, you are not alone. As a result of COVID-19, one in three people in Massachusetts faces food insecurity, many for the first time. Several programs can help you and your family get the food you need to stay healthy. Find out more.
Help with rent or mortgage payments
Are you struggling with rent or mortgage payments because of COVID-19? There are eviction protections and financial programs available to help.
- Visit www.mass.gov/CovidHousingHelp to learn more about state financial aid programs for eligible households.
- Call 2-1-1 to connect with housing resources.
- Talk to your landlord or bank to create a plan.
Be aware of scams
Unfortunately, during this time, there is a greater risk of people trying to run scams. Here are a few tips that you should keep in mind:
- Do not respond to texts, emails, or calls requesting your personal information in exchange for a COVID-19 stimulus check. COVID-19 economic impact checks will be delivered based on 2018 or 2019 tax return information, so no action is required for most people.
- Ignore offers for a COVID-19 cure or treatment. Remember, if there is a medical breakthrough, you won’t hear about it for the first time through an email, online ad or unsolicited sales pitch. The vaccine is free of charge and should be available through sites on mass.gov or from your doctor’s office or hospital, not from other unexpected sources.
- Research any charities or crowdfunding sites soliciting donations in connection with COVID-19 before giving. An organization may not be legitimate even if it uses words like “CDC” or “government” in its name.
- Be cautious of purchasing personal protective equipment (PPE) from unknown third-party vendors. Verify that the company is legitimate before ordering their products or sending money.
- Never click on a link or open an email attachment from an unknown or unverified source. Links and attachments may be embedded with a virus that will infect your computer or mobile device. To better protect yourself against malware, make sure your anti-virus software is operating and up-to-date.
- Legitimate insurance companies, like Fallon Health, are not selling supplemental insurance coverage related to COVID-19 at an additional cost. Please be sure to contact our Customer Service department if you receive any solicitation offering you the option to purchase any additional insurance policies or change the terms of your current coverage.
For more information
For the latest information on coronavirus:
- Visit the CDC’s website
- Visit the Commonwealth of Massachusetts’ website.
- Visit Buoy, a free online tool available to all Massachusetts residents
- Call our dedicated COVID-19 hotline at 1-877-835-8440.
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