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Guidance from Governor Baker for Healthcare providers

Dear Colleagues,

         During this period of uncertainty, the Acupuncture Society of Massachusetts, (ASM) , is diligently working in conjunction with our lobbyist, Dan Delaney, to understand and disseminate the information disseminated from Governor Baker’s office. We appreciate your support and patience as we work to get clarity on the many factors that impact your practice.

        As many of you are aware, Governor Baker released a new plan for reopening Massachusetts today, 5/18/2020.  Based on our understanding of this plan, as licensed healthcare providers we are included in Phase 1 reopening, starting May 25th, 2020(1, 2). Please be aware that there are several requirements that need to be implemented before resuming practice as well as limitations on the types of cases that can be seen and treated. These guidelines are explicitly described below.

The guidelines below are taken directly from Governor Baker’s slides(3)

Services that may be performed are limited, based on the provider’s clinical judgment:

-High-priority preventive services including

Pediatric care

Immunizations

Chronic disease care for high-risk patients

-Urgent procedures that cannot be delivered remotely and would lead to high risk or significant worsening of the patient’s condition if deferred

Health care providers must meet the following requirements to reopen or expand services:

  • Attest to public health standards and specific guidelines
    • *Acupuncturists, as licensed healthcare providers, fall under the standards specified by the Department of Public Health. Please be sure to follow these  guidelines to ensure safe and appropriate practice(2). Additionally, please utilize the guidelines developed by the CCAOM and endorsed by the ASA(4).
  •  Have adequate PPE on hand, a reliable supply chain and other supplies and policies in place, not reliant on the state stockpile of PPE
    • *Please make sure you have appropriate amounts of PPE on hand, you may use this calculator provided by the CDC PPE CALCULATOR. Please remind your patients during the pre-screening call to wear a mask when they enter your office.
  • Infection control readiness (workflow, cleaning, social distancing, etc.)
    • *Practices need to have a written COVID 19 control plan and display the compliance attestation poster (10).The control plan should contain specific protocols and workflow. We have provided samples of these documents in the resource section below (5, 6, 8, 9, 10), requirements are detailed by the DPH (2). Please note these procedures need to be clearly documented in your charting process.
  • Workforce and patient screening and testing protocols
    • *As are referenced (2, 4).

When making a clinical determination, providers are limited by the following criteria

-The procedure cannot be provided through telehealth

-The service must be a high-priority preventive service (including pediatric care and immunizations)

-The procedure must be urgent and cannot be delivered remotely and could lead to high risk or significant worsening of the patient’s condition if deferred

There are several ACTION ITEMS that every practice needs to implement before reopening:

  1. Create a written COVID 19 control plan
  2. Post and sign the Compliance Attestation Poster (10) 
  3. Complete Health Care Provider Attestation Form (7)

*The completed attestation form must be kept on file by the health care provider for inspection by DPH upon request.

        Regardless of whether acupuncturists were deemed essential or not prior to today, the DPH has issued guidance that should clarify what treatments/patients/settings are currently allowable, all framed around the clinical judgement of health care providers. While the ASM will continue to provide as much information and clarity for our providers as possible, it will be up to each individual practitioner to ensure they are appropriately protecting themselves, their patients, and communities by practicing safely.

        The ASM is committed to serving our practitioners and promoting the practice of acupuncture in Massachusetts. We will continue to serve the interests of our members and encourage you to reach out to us with questions and concerns as we navigate this challenging time. Please email admin@AcuSocietyMA.org with any questions or concerns. 

        The ASM is a volunteer organization and the support of our members, donors, and volunteers fund our efforts to advocate for acupuncture in Massachusetts. If you are able, please support this organization by becoming a member, donating, or volunteering. We are grateful.

Yours in Good Health,

The ASM Board of Directors

 

Upcoming Event:

This week’s ASA & NCCAOM Town Hall on May 20th, 2020, discusses liability concerns and malpractice insurance, we recommend joining the conversation to better prepare for reopening. Questions have been collated so please come to hear the answers. It is free of charge and you will earn two free NCCAOM PDA  points in ethics this week. Register here.

Resources:

  1. Department of Public Health Memorandum 5/18/2020 GoogleDoc
  2. Massachusetts Department of Public Health Guidance: Reopen Approach for Health Care Providers (Providers that are Non Acute Care Hospitals) WordDoc
  3. Governor Baker’s Slides 5/18/2020 Google Slides
  4. CCAOM Clinic Infection Control Advisory: PDF
  5. Sample COVID 19 plan by ASM member Karen Adams: PDF
  6. Sample COVID 19 procedures by Amy Mager: GoogleDoc
  7. Massachusetts Department of Public Health – Health Care Provider Phase 1 Reopen Attestation WordDoc
  8. Office Sanization checklist by Eileen DePaula Sheets
  9. Sample COVID 19 procedures by Eileen DePaula: GoogleDoc
  10. Compliance Attestation Poster by MA EOHED: PDF

ASA CoronaVirus Resource Page: Website 

MedGroup Pro – Reopening checklist for healthcare practitioners: PDF 

ASA – Essential vs. Non-Essential, things to consider: PDF 

PPE Vendor List by MA EOHED: Website

CDC PPE Calculator: Website

For Covid-19 acknowledgements /waivers please connect directly with your malpractice insurance.  If you don’t have malpractice insurance, you may want to consider getting some. If you are a member of the ASM, you get a 10% discount via CM & F.

         AAC: Informed consent to treat – PDF

        CM&F: Website contact

         Med Pro: Website – Documentation Guidance