April 21, 2023

Notice to Patients: Ending of Public Health Emergency

Dear Lowell Community Health Center Patients, 
The COVID-19 Public Health Emergency ends on May 11, 2023. The Public Health Emergency allowed special permissions to health providers to care for you and your family during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Here is some information about what this change means for you at Lowell Community Health Center, starting May 12, 2023. Guidelines from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts are still being finalized, and we will provide additional updates as necessary. 

As of May 12, masks will no longer be required within Lowell Community Health Center. Masks are strongly recommended for anyone with a cough, fever, sneezing, shortness of breath, or with other symptoms. 

Masks are available in the health center at all times if you are more comfortable wearing one for medical or personal reasons. 

During the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency, patients have been able to get controlled substances during a virtual care phone or video visit. Examples of controlled substances include:  

  • Opioid pain medications (for example: oxycodone) 
  • Anxiety medications (for example: clonazepam) 
  • Sleep medications (for example: zolpidem) 
  • Other medications (for example: phentermine for weight loss)  

Starting on May 12, if you take these medications regularly, you may need to have an in-person visit to continue getting them. Your care team will contact you if you need an in-person visit to renew your medications. 
Also starting May 12, patients may need to see their provider in-person before starting controlled substances for the first time. 
COVID-19 Vaccines: 
Insurances, including Medicare and Medicaid (Mass Health), will continue to cover the cost of COVID-19 vaccines after the Public Health Emergency ends. There may be a co-pay for your vaccine, depending on your insurance plan. 
Check with your insurance company if you have questions about the cost of a COVID-19 vaccine. 
COVID-19 Testing: 
Tests ordered by a provider – Your insurance company will continue to cover the cost of COVID-19 testing when a provider orders the test, if you have been exposed or have symptoms. Elective testing, such as for travel, may not be covered. 

At-home testing – Most insurance companies will no longer reimburse you for buying at-home COVID-19 tests. If you want to purchase at-home COVID-19 tests before insurance reimbursements end, you can do so at your local pharmacy or online.  

You can still order free at-home COVID-19 tests from the government until the end of the Public Health Emergency. See www.covid.gov/tests for more information. 

COVID-19 Treatment and Therapies: 
There is no change in coverage for COVID-19 treatment. If you are paying a deductible or cost share for these treatments now, then you will continue to pay these costs after the end of the Public Health Emergency. 

If you have any questions, please contact us on your MyChart app, through our website lchealth.org, or by calling 978.937.9700. 


Dr. Kumble Rajesh, Chief Medical Officer & Dr. Elizabeth Hale, Chief Operating Officer