January 26, 2021

MEMRC Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Medical Reserve Corps (MRC)? What is the Metro East MRC (MEMRC)?

The Medical Reserve Corps is a national network of local groups of volunteers that engage local communities to strengthen public health, reduce vulnerability, build resilience, and improve preparedness, response, and recovery capabilities.

The Metro East MRC is the regional MRC unit that covers Arlington, Belmont, Braintree, Cambridge, Chelsea, Cohasset, Everett, Hanover, Hingham, Hull, Norwell, Quincy, Revere, Scituate, Somerville, Watertown, Weymouth, and Winthrop. The mission of the MRC is to create a group of trained volunteers, both medical and non-medical, who are available to support local, sub-regional, regional, state, and federal public health personnel in public health emergency preparedness and response.

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Who Should Join?

ANYONE can volunteer! Whether you are a medical or non-medical volunteer, and regardless of your prior experience – the MRC needs you!

Public Health Professionals

Epidemiologists • Health Educators • Public Health Nurses • Other Public Health Officials

Practicing, Retired or Otherwise Employed Health Professionals and Students

Physicians • Nurses • Pharmacists • Dentists • Nursing Assistants • Veterinarians • Respiratory Therapists

Others Who are Interested in Assisting their Community

Including social workers, interpreters, chaplains, and those who can provide support and administrative assistance

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What Can You Expect from the MRC?

  • Free training and educational opportunities
  • Networking opportunities with other community members and professionals
  • Valuable experience in public health awareness
  • The ability to serve your community in a time of need

* MRC volunteers will receive Continuing Education Units (CEUs) upon completion of certain training courses

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What Might MRC Volunteers Do?

Metro East MRC Volunteers may be called upon to assist with: Natural Disasters (hurricanes, winter storms), Terrorism, Bioterrorism or Infectious Disease Outbreaks

Metro East MRC Volunteers may be asked to:
  • Apply medical care (within your level of expertise)
  • Dispense medication
  • Provide language and interpretation services
  • Offer administrative support
  • Greet residents
  • Support flu clinics (provide assistance)
  • Assist with community health education
  • Provide help at health fairs
Throughout the COVID-19 Response, MEMRC Volunteers participated in the following activations:
  • Long-term care facility assistance (medical & non-medical)
  • Hospital Backflow
  • Contact tracing for Local Public Health
  • COVID-19 testing center support (medical & non-medical)
  • COVID-19 vaccination clinic support (medical & non-medical)
  • Food pantry deliveries
  • Medication deliveries to quarantined/isolated individuals
  • Staffing state and local call centers
  • PPE distribution to support Local Public Health

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How much of a time commitment is the MRC?

The Metro East MRC does not have a minimum time commitment to maintain status within our unit. Some volunteers assist with one activation/shift a year, while others volunteer their services whenever a request is sent out. It is up to each volunteer to assess the activation request details and decide if they would like to respond. Volunteers are never pressured into accepting an assignment!

MEMRC is a regional unit, meaning you will receive activation requests from all 18 communities. Some of our members choose to only volunteer within their home community, others choose to travel throughout the region.

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How will we learn about volunteer opportunities?

Requests that come into the MEMRC office are pushed out to our members through the MA Responds system. Volunteers will always receive an email with details on the activation. In emergency situations, volunteers may receive a phone call or text message notification. Volunteers must opt-in to receiving calls and text notifications. Volunteers can adjust their notification settings by logging into their MA Responds profile, selecting “My Profile”, “Contact”, “Edit Information”, then filling out the appropriate fields. Please note that if you would like to receive text messages, you must add “SMS/Text Msg” as a “Contact Method”. Selecting the “Mobile Phone” option does not permit the system to send you text messages.

Responding to a request is an expression of interest and is not a confirmation of an assignment. The MEMRC office will reach out if you are assigned.

Am I eligible for a COVID-19 Vaccine as an MRC volunteer?

As per the Massachusetts Department of Public Health: MRC volunteers that are not actively supporting specific covid response efforts such as vaccination clinics and testing sites are not eligible to receive the vaccine under their general MRC volunteer affiliation. Volunteers who are assigned to a clinic are eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine only at the specific clinic they will be working.  Volunteers who are not scheduled for clinics (i.e. have not been given specific dates/times) and those who do not fall under the current priority group(s), are not eligible to be vaccinated at this time. Volunteers will be provided the opportunity to receive their vaccine at their assigned clinic if the vaccine is available.

Am I eligible to vaccinate if my medical license is issued out of state, out of the country, or is expired?

Only individuals with active Massachusetts medical licenses are eligible to vaccinate. However, on April 3rd, 2020, MA DPH Commissioner, Dr. Monica Bharel, signed an order maximizing health care provider availability in the Commonwealth. This order allows health care providers who have a license in good standing in another state to apply for a corresponding Massachusetts license which will remain valid during the state of emergency. Individuals interested in this should reach out to their corresponding Massachusetts licensing authority. This order also allows individuals who have, within the last ten years, held a license to practice as a healthcare provider that was issued by a Massachusetts licensing authority, to have their license immediately renewed/reactivated upon request. Again, these inquiries should go through your corresponding Massachusetts licensing authority. The Order of the Commissioner of Public Health Maximizing Health Care Provider Availability may be found here: https://www.mass.gov/doc/order-maximizing-available-healthcare-providers/download

Who is qualified to administer the COVID vaccine?

• Physicians
• Physician Assistants
• Registered Nurse
• Licensed Practical Nurse
• Nurse practitioners (APRN)
• Psychiatric nurse mental health clinical specialists (APRN)
• Certified nurse midwifes (APRN)
• Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (APRN)
• Pharmacists
• Dentists
• Podiatrists: Authorized under 94C, but scope of practice may be limited by Podiatrists Board
• Veterinarians: Authorized under 94C, but scope of practice may be limited by Veterinary Board

Who is qualified to administer the COVID vaccine under supervision?

• These individuals must have direct supervision from a licensed health care professional.
• Medical students
• Nursing students
• Certified Medical Assistants
• Pharmacy interns (supervised by Pharmacist)
• Pharmacy technicians (supervised by Pharmacist)
• Paramedics, Advanced EMT (working in association with an ambulance service)
• EMT Basic (working in association with an ambulance service; need to have a physician, nurse, or paramedic immediately available at the treatment site

As a volunteer, do I have liability coverage?

There are numerous federal and state liability protections for volunteers. Note: only accepted MEMRC members who are activated/deployed through our office have protection as affiliated volunteers. These liability protections only cover official MEMRC activations/deployments. During a large-scale emergency, there is the potential for special legislation or Executive Orders to help assure volunteers will have liability protection. MEMRC volunteers do not have workers compensation coverage. Please read more about Liability Information for Affiliated Volunteers.

What trainings do I need to complete as an MEMRC volunteer?

MEMRC utilizes the MRC Train system for online training courses. You can find links to all required trainings on our New Volunteer Training Program. The Metro East MRC New Volunteer Training Program includes the following courses:

You will need to create an MRC TRAIN account and link your profile to the Metro East MRC to get started with training opportunities. The following guidance document will walk you through creating your account: Create a TRAIN Profile. These additional guidance documents can help you Enroll in a TRAIN Course and Register for a Training Plan. MRC TRAIN also provides video tutorials at www.train.org/tutorials.

Please note you will need to register for a FEMA SID (Student ID Number) in order to complete IS-100 and IS-700. If you believe you have already created a FEMA SID, you may look up your number at the following link: https://cdp.dhs.gov/femasid/account/find. If you have never registered for a FEMA SID you can do so at this link: https://cdp.dhs.gov/femasid/register.