To our fellow members of the MIT Community –
The COVID-19 pandemic has major implications for all of us as we think about how MIT Medical can best provide care. MIT Medical services must be tailored to best support the MIT community's needs and respond to the unique clinical challenges related to COVID-19.
Effective Tuesday, March 17, MIT Medical, at both our Cambridge and Lexington locations, will temporarily convert our facilities into clinics that prioritize essential services for children and adults and urgent student mental health and counseling services.
Why will restructuring MIT Medical help the MIT community manage COVID-19?
Focusing on essential services will help us limit possible exposure to illness among members of our community.
- It prevents healthy people — who would otherwise be here for things like eye exams, teeth cleanings, or routine physicals — from coming into contact with ill patients.
- It allows us to redeploy resources so we can more than double the number of same-day visits we can provide — something our community will need as the number of COVID-19 cases in the Boston area increases.
- It helps to keep the MIT Medical staff healthy by lowering the density of people in our building.
- It enables us to take care of students, faculty, staff, and retirees, keeping them from needing to go to outside medical systems that may be overwhelmed with COVID-19.
If I want to be seen today, what do I do?
During this public health emergency, MIT Medical is moving away from our current Urgent Care and Student Mental Health & Counseling Services walk-in system and implementing a “call-first” model. This will give us up to 150 open visits each day, but patients will need to call ahead to schedule a time to be seen, including in Urgent Care and Student Mental Health & Counseling Services. This system makes us all safer by minimizing the need for waiting rooms where patients are grouped together in a small area. Instead, once you check in at your assigned time, you may be escorted directly into an exam room as appropriate.
Which services will continue to be available?
Under this model, we will be prioritizing access to essential care, such as some pediatric immunizations, behavioral health medication management, and prenatal exams. If you need to schedule an appointment, contact us, and we will let you know if we need to see you in person. Notably, the Dental Service, Eye Service, and Sports Medicine and Orthopedics Service will be available for emergency appointments.
We are working to implement virtual visits for Student Mental Health & Counseling Services, Primary Care, and, potentially, some specialty services. We’re also working to launch virtual classes in Community Wellness.
Unfortunately, all of this means we will be canceling many medical appointments, particularly routine specialty appointments. Again, our goal is to keep healthy people as far away as possible from sick people. If you have an existing appointment that is not considered “essential care,” we will contact you to cancel the appointment and ask that you call us to reschedule once we resume normal operations. We appreciate your patience and understanding, as we know how incredibly disruptive this is.
Will there be a change in hours?
Yes. As we redeploy resources to where they are most needed and lower the density of MIT Medical employees in the building, we will need to tighten our hours. MIT Medical’s Cambridge location will be open from 8 a.m.–5 p.m., seven days a week. On weekends, Radiology, Laboratory, and Pharmacy will be open to support Urgent Care. As always, medical advice is available after hours through our 24-hour Help Line at 617-253-4481.
When will MIT Medical return to normal operations?
As the COVID-19 emergency evolves, we will adapt our plans and structure accordingly. When it is safe to return to normal operations, we will do so immediately.
How will COVID-19 testing work?
This is a rapidly changing situation. As of now, test availability is still limited. We cannot test everyone who would like to be tested, and MIT Medical can only test individuals who meet specific clinical criteria for testing after other infections, such as influenza, have been ruled out.
How will my MIT Health Insurance work change during the public health emergency?
For more information about changes to Blue Cross Blue Shield MIT Medical plans in response to COVID-19, please visit the Human Resources website.
A final point before closing
We know this is a stressful time for our community. Some are worried about their own health; others have concerns about distant friends or family members. We ask the entire MIT community to do everything possible to limit the spread of COVID-19. Wash your hands frequently and avoid touching your face. Don’t share food or beverages. Practice social distancing and avoid crowds when possible. If you are at high risk (age 60+, pregnant, or have a serious chronic medical condition such as heart disease, diabetes, or lung disease), be extra vigilant to protect yourself.
Please support each other, and please support MIT Medical in its mission to keep our community healthy and to care for those who need us the most. If you have general questions about these changes, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you have questions about an existing appointment or would like to be seen, please call us at 617-253-4481.
We thank you for your patience and flexibility as we work to support each other and MIT during this pandemic.
Cecilia Stuopis, M.D.