Updates to Covid-19 Clinic Policies (Check regularly)

May 12, 2020

It’s been a while since an update, mostly because the situation on the ground hasn’t changed much.  I have received a number of inquiries about re-opening and scheduling though, so it’s a good time to consider how to do this.  First off, Vermont Health Department recommendations are still that we remain closed.  Specifically: “The Agency of Human Services (AHS) today clarified that the Phase 1 of reopening the healthcare sector includes elective procedures in an outpatient settings only. Acupuncturists, chiropractors, physical therapists, dentists, and many others must remain closed until sector-specific guidance is available. AHS has advised that these businesses should not assume reopening can occur after May 15th and emphasized that Phase 2 guidance for reopening these businesses will be forthcoming.”

That’s the legal part.  I am thinking the earliest I might be up and running is June, and still not sure. The medical part is a rather long discussion, but to simplify it, our greatest risk of exposure to the virus has to do with the time spent in an area in which transmission could occur.  Although every step can be taken to reduce the risk of transmission, the time it takes to have a treatment is not short which underlies my abundant caution in proceeding.  Vermont, in general, though is doing GREAT!  Anyway, I will repeat what I said in my first post: “I would suggest that going into any “uncontrolled” environment should be avoided by most of us in the near future, and only when necessary. That is what is behind all the shutdowns.  In between uncontrolled and completely sterile environments are what I would call “controlled” environments, and we are doing our very best to make this office one of those, not a locus or vector for spreading illness.”

At this point, it’s probably worth reviewing my first post for the hygienic details of how I hope to achieve this.  Since then, I have decided on several additional actions to help.  I will be using disposable non-woven sheets for each person—these are similar to mask material.  And we will all be wearing masks.  Appointments will be staggered so that a minimum of 30 minutes is allowed between room occupancy, during which time I will use an ozone generator to disinfect the air.   You will know which room to go to when you arrive, and not wait in the waiting room—just proceed to the restroom, wash hands thoroughly and go to your assigned room.  Please bring a bag for your clothes and put your outerwear in it immediately, and then you will be in your acuwear for the session! This will keep the outside outside as much as possible.  We will need to complete scheduling and such either in the room, or via email, etc.  For payment, I would prefer to limit using credit cards, but they of course can be cleaned, and checks can be put in a box for days (I rarely go to the bank more than twice a month anyway) but all that being said, it’s a great idea to learn how to use Venmo.  It’s a free way to do bank transfers with two layers of separation.   I am obviously going to have a reduced number of visits a day, most likely limited to 4-5 at most.  I am also, as of today, still contemplating how much time I want to leave between both individual visits and morning/afternoon sessions to maximize air cleaning.  All of this is so we can all feel as safe as possible.  So, scheduling will be fairly inflexible timewise unfortunately.  A third variable that I am extremely frustrated by is the ridiculously slow development of guidelines in general, and testing guidelines in particular.  Just last week (and Vermont is doing well with this) the Health Department issued guidelines saying that anyone who had mild symptoms, or was exposed to someone sick for some length of time could be authorized to get a test.  (Testing and tracing) Meanwhile, in the State of Washington, they are still working on developing appropriate guidelines for the cadence of testing essential personnel.  I have called and written the Governor’s office and Health Department several times with no response trying to find out if any plans to do so here are even in the works.  Any provider, such as myself, a dentist, a PT, etc. who is working in close proximity to people for even a shorter length of time than we work together should be regularly tested to rule out asymptomatic transmission.  Truly, this does upset me greatly, as it was probably my first thought in early March even before sequestering.  Maybe anyone who reads this can send an email to Governor Scott? Currently, the plans on reopening safely revolve around assessing any uptick in cases and hospitalizations, not assessing possible spread through random testing. This will leave a 2-3 week lag time at least.  I know I’m not supposed to be a policy guy, but this is just common sense being ignored.  Anyway, check back later in the month to see about scheduling—I will have picked available days and times by then!

March 23. The clinic is now closed for in person treatment.  I will be working to establish protocols for either telephone or computer based consultations in the near future.  Many of my herbal suppliers are currently back ordered as manufacturers in California are on shut down.

March 24.  I will be available for consultations by phone, email, and perhaps zoom (but I’m no Pro!). It is not too likely I will work from the office more than a couple of slots/week, but can easily swing by to retrieve formulas (when they are available of course!) if you’re ill.  Also, it is not hard to refill constitutional formulas with some notice, and quite safe for me to leave herbs outside at my home, but not at the office.  For consultations (other than refills), I will charge $120/hour, with a $25 minimum, and use a timer to be fair. This will hold for email exchanges as well.  Therefore, it is best to collect your thoughts, write them out and send them along.  It is also fine to talk–it just will take more time. As you know, I am inclined to deliberate in order to get things right.  A good idea is to practice taking selfies of your tongue!  If you are concerned about illness, please check your temperature at rest. Also, concerning illness, it is probably best to communicate visually with Facetime, Zoom, etc. as a lot is revealed by observation.  Payment wise, I encourage folks to use Venmo, which is free for everyone concerned.  I wish there was a way to do pulses at a distance! OK, thanks!

March 25.  Governor Scott issued a shelter in place order today which holds till April 15th. Stay sane and safe! And retrieving and formulas you may need is an essential activity for sure.  As above, this will mostly be conducted from my side porch!

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