I am coming to Mass General for an in-patient appointment. What should I expect when I come to the hospital?
In these extraordinary times, it is particularly important that you get the care you need for your health conditions. At Massachusetts General Hospital, our dedicated physicians, nurses and staff are committed to providing the best possible specialty care—safely and effectively.
Below are the answers to frequently asked questions regarding non-COVID care at Mass General, during the COVID-19 crisis.
FAQs: Scheduling an Appointment at Mass General
Q. Is Mass General 'open’ to see general patients?
A. Yes, we are open to see all patients for necessary general care in the outpatient and inpatient settings, and our Safe Care Commitment ensures your in-person visits to Mass General are welcoming and safe. Due to the pandemic and the need to physical distance, we are also offering virtual visits—visits conducted remotely through the use of technology such as phones and computers—when possible. Outpatient visits are available for care that requires a face-to-face visit, physical examination, treatment or procedure. Your care team will help you determine which is best for you.
Q. I am unsure if I should go to my appointment in-person or online. How should I decide?
A. Call your provider’s office and they will help you determine what is best for your individual circumstances. While online virtual visits are recommended in many cases, we will take into consideration both your health needs and your ability to safely travel to Mass General.
Q. Where do I get more information about Virtual Visits?
Q. Where do I get more information about in-person visits for non-COVID health issues?
How is care for patients with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 provided at Mass General?
A. For patients who have symptoms of COVID infection (new fever, cough, sore throat, runny nose/nasal congestion, shortness of breath, muscle aches or inability to smell or taste), please contact your Mass General provider who can discuss COVID testing and care.
For patients with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 admitted to the hospital, care is provided with appropriate infection control policies. In the outpatient setting, patients with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 may be seen in a Routine Ambulatory Care for COVID Clinic (RAC-C) or other areas that have been established with the same infection control policies in place. Staff in these care areas have access to personal protective equipment (PPE), including N95 respirators, gowns, gloves and eye protection. Staff receive specialized training in the use of PPE to keep our patients, visitors and staff safe.
Q. Should I delay seeking care?
A. No. Please call your doctor’s office. We understand your concerns about seeking care now, and we want to assure you that we are here for you at Mass General. Your safety is our priority. In many cases, if you delay your health care, your condition could worsen or you may need more serious treatments or procedures.
Medical emergencies are the same as before the COVID-19 pandemic. If you have an emergency, you should come to the Mass General Emergency Department.
FAQs: Getting to Mass General Safely
Q. Is it safe to take the MBTA to my appointment at Mass General?
A. The MBTA has implemented safety precautions for riders. If you use public transportation, you are encouraged to physically distance yourself from others, wear a mask, do not touch your face and practice hand hygiene after exiting.
Q. How about taking an Uber, Lyft or taxi?
A. If you are using this mode of transportation, ensure that both you and the driver are wearing masks and practice hand hygiene.
Q. Are there parking discounts if I do not want to take the MBTA to my appointment?
A. No, our parking rates have not changed.
FAQs: Arriving at Mass General/Your Practice Location
Q. What happens when I arrive?
A. You will be greeted by a Mass General employee who will provide you with hand sanitizer and a mask and will direct you to your appointment location. You may be asked multiple times about any symptoms you may have—please be patient. It is for your safety.
Q. How safe will it be to visit my doctor/go for a procedure or appointment at Mass General?
A. Your safety has always been our top priority. During COVID-19, we have implemented unprecedented safety measures to keep you safe.
Q. Is there increased security to ensure patients are entering/ visiting appropriate areas of hospital?
A. Yes. Security personnel are staffing all hospital entrances.
Q. How are you ensuring patients stay more than six feet away from each other?
A. We have observed that our patients already are doing a good job of physical distancing. In addition, waiting rooms have been re-organized with many fewer chairs and the floors in front of check-in desks have been marked with tape at six-foot intervals. The current universal mask policy adds another layer of protection; however, the expectation is that physical distance will be maintained through the use of scheduling and physical design of our spaces.
Q. Will I be screened for symptoms of possible COVID-19 before I am allowed into the hospital?
A. Yes. As part of our Safe Care Commitment, Mass General is screening all patients and visitors on arrival for symptoms to protect them, their families and our staff, before they are welcomed into the hospital.
Admitted patients are tested for COVID-19 prior to admission and screened for symptoms daily. Outpatients are screened prior to and upon arrival, and if symptomatic, are cared for via virtual visits or evaluated in person following hospital infection control policies.
Q. Will Mass General provide me with a mask upon entry?
A. Yes. We require all people on campus—employees, patients and visitors—to wear a hospital-issued mask. As part of our Safe Care Commitment, we protect everyone in our environment. Everyone is given a mask upon entering Mass General and will be asked to wear it instead of one they may have brought from home. Mask stations are available at all hospital entrances. The use of masks for all who enter our facilities is what is called Universal Source Control—it recognizes that any patient, visitor or staff member could have COVID-19 without any symptoms and when we are all masked, we can prevent the spread to others.
Q. Will Mass General provide me with hand sanitizer upon entry?
A. Yes. We clean our hands and spaces and make it easy for you to do the same. We have established cleaning protocols throughout Mass General—including the addition of hand sanitizer stations so patients, visitors and staff can clean their hands easily and frequently—and provided visual reminders to practice hand hygiene.
Q. How do I check-in for my appointment?
A. You will have multiple check-in steps, including one at the hospital entrance and another when you arrive at your appointment location.
Q. Can a friend or family member accompany me to my appointment?
A. Patients who are not on enhanced respiratory isolation may have one asymptomatic (no COVID-19 symptoms) visitor over the age of 18 in the hospital per day between the hours of 1:00 pm and 8:00 pm. Visits should last no longer than two hours.
Patients who are on enhanced respiratory isolation are not allowed to have a visitor, with very limited exceptions (i.e. pediatrics, labor and delivery, end of life and special populations), to ensure everyone’s safety during COVID-19. As the situation evolves, we expect this policy to change according to Massachusetts State guidelines. While we understand this is difficult, it is based on public health recommendations. There are a few exceptions, under special circumstances, including pediatrics.
It is possible to engage a family member or friend in a visit via FaceTime, Zoom or speaker phone during your visit to help with questions and listen to the care team’s guidance for you. If this is of interest, ask your care team to assist you.
FAQs: During my Visit
Q. Have you increased cleaning staff within the hospital?
A. Yes, we have established regular cleaning protocols throughout Mass General.
Q. How can I reduce my time in the waiting room—can I check in for my appointment before I arrive?
A. Yes, we strongly encourage you to use the contactless, e-check-in function on Patient Gateway to minimize your time in the waiting area.
Prescription refills via Patient Gateway
Q. Can I get my prescription refilled without coming in to see my doctor?
A. This may be possible under certain circumstances. Please submit a request for a prescription refill to your doctor via Patient Gateway. Your doctor will then determine which type of appointment is best—an in-person or a virtual visit.
Don’t Delay Care During COVID-19
Our physicians and staff are committed to providing expert care—safely and effectively.
- May | 4 | 2020
At Mass General we provide a full range of services for general care and care to COVID-19 patients. Your safety is our priority and we have taken measures to ensure that general care and COVID-19 patients are safe. These FAQs can help you plan for an appointment during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Our Strength is Yours
In these extraordinary times, it is particularly important that you get the care you need for your health conditions. At Mass General, our dedicated physicians, nurses and staff are committed to providing the best possible specialty care—safely and effectively.