The NMCA leadership has been monitoring the rapidly developing changes to the COVID-19 Pandemic. As this is such an ever changing process the NMCA recommends you stay update and follow the guidance of the New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH), Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and other reputable organizations. These links offer recommendations and guidelines you may want to follow and additional information.
The New Mexico Department of Health Corona Virus web site
NM DOH Information for Clinicians
Center for Disease Control General Corona Virus Information
CDC Information for Healthcare Professionals
OSHA recommendations for work place safety: www.osha.gov
American Chiropractic Association
World Federation of Chiropractic COVID-19 Update
MEMBERS: For regular communication and up to date information, please refer to the NMCA list serve. If you are not on the list serve, contact Diana Statzula, Executive Director at 505-280-0689
SHOULD YOU STAY OPEN?
The NMCA believes the question of whether you should close or modify your practice hours is up to you the Chiropractic Physician. The NMCA recognizes that Chiropractic Medicine is an essential part of your patients overall health and well being and the safety of your patients, your staff, and yourself is the number one priority. The NMCA recommends Chiropractic Physicians use their best judgement and relevant guidelines when considering whether to close their office. At this time there has been no mandate from the New Mexico government to close all businesses. The NMCA is proactively having discussions with interested parties that if such a mandate occurs, chiropractic offices are excluded from such restrictions.
If you elect to continue to see patients the NMCA recommends you take every precaution to ensure a clean and safe environment for your patients and staff. The following considerations have been developed by public health agencies, other health care professionals, and NMCA members. These are only suggestions and should not be considered mandates or official policy.
Follow DOH and CDC recommendations on self-quarantine if you or a staff member feels ill or displays symptoms of COVID-19 (cough, fever, difficulty breathing) and contact NM DOH
Contacting all scheduled new and existing patients and screen for COVID-19 symptoms or risks. If concern arises, advise patients to contact NM DOH Corona Virus Hotline at 1-855-600-3453. Advise against going to emergency department, urgent care, or other healthcare providers’ office until they have contacted the DOH.
Modify patient sign in procedures to single sheet and sterilize pens between uses. If using tablet or other electronic device, sterilize stylus between patients.
Providers and staff should wash or sanitize their hands between every patient interaction.
Clean treatment tables between every patient, with EPA approved disinfectant.
Clean high touch surfaces often.
Regarding masks, due to limitations of supply only individuals displaying symptoms of COVID-19 or those in direct care of patients showing symptoms should wear a mask.
Remove all magazines, books, or children’s toys from waiting rooms.
In an effort to practice social distancing consider the following options:
Modifying schedule to reduce the number of people in you clinic to no more that 10 at one time, as per most recent White House guidelines
If open treatment or multi-patient therapy rooms are utilized make efforts to have patients at least 6 feet apart
If a patient has a driver accompany them to their appointment, ask them to wait in their vehicle and not your waiting room
Consider rescheduling or delaying non-urgent appointments for high risk populations, i.e. +65 years old or immune compromised patients.
The NMCA strongly recommends its members use extreme caution with use of advertisements or patient educational materials at this time and refrain from making claims that are not substantiated by peer-reviewed, empirical evidence. Regulators are on high alert at this time looking for individuals that are exploiting the current situation surrounding the Corona Virus pandemic. Licensing boards across the country are advising anyone making claims that adjustments can provide immunity to the flu or corona virus is possibly in violation of statue and rule relating to both scope of practice and advertising claims
IF YOU DECIDE OR ARE FORCED TO CLOSE YOUR OFFICE
There are many rapidly developing assistance programs for employees and business affected by COVID-19. The state is helping with business loans for companies affected by COVID-19. The Small Business Administration is also offering disaster assistance loans.
If you are classified as an employee, or your staff are out of work due to COVID-19 unemployment insurance benefits may be available to you through New Mexico Workforce Solutions.
CONTINUING EDUCATION REQUIREMENTS
The New Mexico Regulations and Licensing Department sent out a notice on 3/17/2020 asking for written input for licensing boards regarding licensing requirements affected by COVID-19. The NMCA is preparing a response and will request accommodations in CEU requirements for licensed chiropractors and advance practice chiropractors for the 2019/2020 license year, due to limitations and restrictions caused by the COVID-19 virus and subsequent executive order. At this time any changes or provisions to the current licensing requirements will not be considered until the next scheduled New Mexico Chiropractic Board meeting in June. The NMCA encourages members to submit their concerns in writing to the examining board. Additionally, the NMCA is exploring alternative learning opportunities, such as live streaming webcast to help satisfy CEU requirements. We will provide updates as they become available.
In these uncertain times it is easy to become overwhelmed by the moment and the stress of the unknown. Take this threat seriously, but do not allow the hysteria to consume you. Judging by what is occurring across the globe this is likely to get worse before it gets better, but it will get better. Take care of yourself, take care of your family, take care of your community, take care. This too shall pass.
Yours in health,
NMCA Executive Board
Dr. Ryan Rowse
Dr. J.C. Moore
Dr. Dominique Taylor
Dr. Christina Lujan
Dr. David Peer