May 6, 2020
During this past quarter (January 1 – March 31, 2020), our work to improve services for Maine people continued as the COVID-19 pandemic approached and began, including:
- Continuing to improve access to health care through MaineCare expansion, with 47,586 people enrolled as of April 2, 2020.
- Protecting the health of the public during the COVID-19 pandemic, while ensuring access to health care, food, and basic necessities, including by taking steps to expand telehealth and the health care workforce.
- Accelerating pay increases for personal care workers and expanding access to meals for older Mainers who are home-bound because of COVID-19
- Bolstering our response to the opioid epidemic through the Maternal Opioid Misuse (MOM) model.
- Developing a strategy to serve adults with developmental disabilities and autism with more responsive and inclusive services
- Coordinating across state government to improve care for those facing mental health challenges
- Addressing challenges to transitional housing in Maine, and
- Working to improve behavioral health services for children.
Constituent Services provides support to those with questions or concerns regarding any of the many programs and services offered through DHHS. Some of the most common types of questions revolve around program eligibility and benefits, health services such as aging or mental health, and child welfare. With the arrival of COVID-19 in the United States and the State of Maine, DHHS experienced a large increase in public health-related inquiries during the first three months of 2020.
In total, the Office of Constituent Service received 1,729 inquiries between January 1 and March 31 of this year -- up more than 80% from a total of 948 in the last three months of 2019. While most DHHS offices received requests at rates consistent with previous quarters, the Maine CDC experienced a surge in inquiries related to COVID-19, with a total of 354 compared to 40 during the last quarter of 2019. Additionally, the Commissioner's Office received 403 inquiries, up from 107 in the previous quarter.
Members of the public who are looking for general information about COVID-19 are encouraged to call 211, text their zip code to 898-211, or email firstname.lastname@example.org for assistance. For those looking for the latest numbers on COVID-19 cases in Maine, public health guidance and resources, please visit our Maine CDC COVID-19 page.
Individuals in need of assistance through Constituent Services may submit inquiries online or by phone at (207) 287-5846. Please note that Constituent Services is not to be used in the event of an emergency or to report abuse or neglect.