COVID-19 MedicAlert® Operational Contingencies

We are working to keep you protected

Update on the Societies Staffing

The Society is a charity and its staffing capacity is limited by funding available to it through payment of Annual Fees and Donations. We actively keep fees to a minimum, so they remain affordable for all and encourage Donations to help bridge the financial gap. We would be most grateful if members who have not paid their fees, please do so as soon as possible.

In February the Foundation had a key employee experience a stroke at work and we were impacted by other staff illness. This contributed to a back log of work and a lot of stress for our staff. If you have been waiting on an order or response, we are now catching up and you should be responded to soon.

Members on the Societies Board have agreed to increase staffing to enable staff to respond to Members needs, particularly in light of COVID-19.  Two new employees commence and start their training this Monday 23 March.

  COVID-19 Office facility workplace safety

Our Membership Services office normally operates as a secure facility to mitigate privacy risk. If you have visited the office recently you will know you need to press a door bell to be given access to the office. 

The inherently secure nature of the Foundations office facilities result in a clean and safe working environment, where mitigation of cross contamination is actively managed. 

The Foundation has added new sanitiser dispensers outside its office doors to help prevent transfer of contaminants into the work space. If you may be visiting before a shutdown occurs, please look out for these and use them before pushing the bell or opening the door.

COVID-19 Work form home, service continuity

The Foundations intent is to stay open and continue to support its Members during this difficult time, with some staff working from home to increase social distancing in the Foundations office work space.

Maintaining our operation during a shutdown is expected to be extremely important to enable the Foundation to process health information updates to Members MedicAlert electronic health records and process distribution of ID’s.

The Foundation has consulted with the Privacy Commissioners Office with regard to the appropriateness of our staff working from home due to an office, building or national shut down. 

The Privacy Commissioners Office has responded and said working from home for our staff will be permitted subject to a few procedures being implemented which are currently being addressed. We are quickly developing new technology based processes and procedures, so paper based forms do not need to be physically handled more than once, nor leave the office. Time however may be short, if implementation can not be achieved before a shut down occurs, the Foundation may be forced to close its Membership Services Department.

If we become exposed to a building shutdown that prevents access to the Foundations office facilities, this will prevent the Foundation producing Medical ID's for a period of time, while other services may continue. If this occurs, please bear with us, as soon as the Office becomes accessible again we will have a heavy focus on producing Medical ID's. Some parts of the country may be effected differently at different times.

MedicAlert 24/7/365 Emergency Hotline Service 

The Foundations nationwide and International Hotline Service operates 24/7/365 (number engraved on your Medical ID). The Hotline Service is provided by the New Zealand Central Emergency Ambulance Communications Center (Central Com), operated by Wellington Free Ambulance. We expect this government funded emergency service center to remain open. 

COVID-19 Shut Downs, Self Isolation Risks

In the unlikely situation Central Comm is forced to shut down, the Foundation may need to switch over its Hotline number to a Key Employee. If this is necessary, this two could be undermined if telecommunications staff are on shut down or isolation and cannot perform the switch over.  The Foundation may also become subject to staff  isolation's, which prevent it from operating. 

We have heard some other organisation shutdowns may commence rolling out as early as next week.

We will issue a notification if this circumstance arises for the Foundation, including what our operational continuity position is for service continuation at that time.

Please prepare for the worst case scenario and hope for the best, always wear your Medic Alert Medical ID.