Social Services &
Health Care Advocates

Connecting the island to care


Over the past 30 years, Nantucket Cottage Hospital’s Social Services Department has evolved into an irreplaceable resource for the island community. It truly serves as the island’s own dedicated social worker.

Our team provides interdisciplinary coordination of patient care to help you and your family address any issues that arise during your hospitalization, with an emphasis on the preparation of appropriate discharge services. We offer confidential, supportive counseling and referrals to help you cope with illness, family concerns, mental health or substance abuse issues, and other situations that may affect your recovery.

The Social Services Department also offers free, confidential, one-on-one appointments for people with questions about health insurance such as Medicare or Masshealth as well as public health insurance options under the Affordable Care Act. We can help you review insurance options, determine enrollment costs, and apply for the plan that’s right for you.

We can also assist in addressing financial matters related to insurance billing. If your family income falls between 200% and 400% of the poverty guidelines, you may be eligible for partial free care. To determine eligibility for free care, we use the applicant’s gross income for the appropriate family size, which is established by the Federal Poverty Guidelines.

The staff works collaboratively with all other hospital departments as well as other agencies within the Nantucket community.

Our services include:

  • Social work and discharge planning for the medical-surgical floor and the Emergency Department
  • Dialysis counseling
  • Palliative care social work services
  • Oversight of all interpreter services
  • Oversight of all behavioral health care from the Emergency Department to the med-surg floor to disposition
  • Health care advocacy, enrollment in all public health insurance including MassHealth, Commonwealth Care, Health Safety Net (HSN), private insurances and food stamps
  • Transportation assistance funds (Learn more about the Andrew Holdgate Fund, Shorty Fund, Indigent Fund, and Sailing Stork Fund below)
  • Insurance counseling (Medicare, long-term care insurance, medigap or supplemental policies)
  • Budget counseling
  • Long-term care planning
  • Crisis intervention
  • Alcohol and drug counseling and referral
  • Counseling on disability: local, state or federal
  • Information and referral for VA services that are available

Help Your Island Neighbors

It is not uncommon that our family, friends and neighbors often need to travel off-island for medical care. To lessen the burden, Nantucket Cottage Hospital created and has managed travel funds since the 1980s to help reduce the high costs of travel.

Simply put, for over 20 years these funds have helped countless Nantucketers get to their medical appointments off-island. The funds help sick children, patients with cancer, low income individuals and everyone in between. The NCH Social Services Department has also been addressing many other issues — often financial in nature — such as being unable to afford medications.

Maintaining the viability of these funds isn’t easy, because they are sustained entirely by donations or fundraisers. NCH wants to continue to provide what has become an essential service to our community. Please consider a donation to help your fellow Nantucketers. 100% of all money raised goes to help those in need.

Click Here to Donate

  • The Andrew Holdgate Fund is used to assist with transportation expenses when it is necessary for a child to receive medical care off island.
  • The Indigent Fund is a discretionary fund under the guidance and supervision of the Social Services Department of NCH. Some uses have included paying for medications, transportation, groceries, rent, and utilities.
  • The Shorty Fund is used to assist patients who have medical appointments off island and qualify financially.
  • The Sailing Stork Fund is available to assist with the travel & lodging expenses of any Nantucket expectant mother who has been informed by Nantucket Cottage Hospital and/or their physician that their delivery will need to take place off island. This also includes those that find themselves in emergency labor & delivery situations.