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Public Health Order 13 Nov 2020

On the 13th of November, 2020, Acting Secretary Billy J. Jimenez issued a Public Health Order under direction of the Governor in response to the continued public health emergency.

This order allows the continued operation of (emphasis added):

Health care operations including hospitals, walk-in-care health facilities, pharmacies, medical wholesale and distribution, home health care workers or aides for the elderly, emergency dental facilities, nursing homes, residential health care facilities, research facilities, congregate care facilities, intermediate care facilities for those with intellectual or developmental disabilities, supportive living homes, home health care providers, drug and alcohol recovery support services, and medical supplies and equipment manufacturers and providers;

Which clearly includes acupuncturists and their clinics.

Public Health Order 30 April, 2020

On the 30th of April, 2020, Cabinet Secretary Kathyleen M. Kunkel issued a Public Health Order Modifying Temporary Restrictions on Non-Esential Health Care Services, Procedures and Surgeries.

The November 13th order extends the April 30th order until they are amended or rescinded

The April 30th order directs that:

All hospitals and other health care facilities, ambulatory surgical facilities, dental, orthodontic and endodontic offices in the State of New Mexico are prohibited from providing non-essential health care services, procedures, and surgeries, except under the conditions provided below.

The order further directs that facilities may gradually resume operations in compliance with guidelines provided by the New Mexico Department of Health.

Department of Health Guidelines

From the Department of Health website:

The MAT has issued reopening recommended guidelines for use by acupuncturists, Doctors of Oriental Medicine, and auricular detoxification. The guidelines cover several areas, including personal protective equipment, considerations for facilities/clinics, COVID-19 screening procedures, and reporting.

CCAOM Guidelines

The Council of Colleges of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (CCAOM) have issued guidelines for the modification of acupuncturists’ clinics; and the New Mexico Department of Health has included these guidlines as a reference.

Conclusion and Recommendation

The New Mexico Society for Acupuncture and Asian Medicine Recommends acupuncturists comply with the following guidelines

  1. Reopening Guidelines: Doctors of Oriental Medicine May 20, 2020 provided by the New Mexico Medical Advisory Team (MAT)
  2. CCAOM Guidelines Updated April 30, 2020
  3. Guide to Infection Prevention for Outpatient Settings: Minimum Expectations for Safe Care CDC Guidance

As long as acupuncturists follow the above guidelines, including but not limited to:

  1. Screening patients for COVID-19 symptoms at time of scheduling, via online or phone screening;
  2. COVID-19 positive cases should not visit the office for treatment until they have been released from isolation using current NM DOH Guidelines for isolation and quarantine;
  3. All providers, staff, and patients wear a mask at all times in clinic; staff and providers should consider the use of N95 or KN95 masks;
  4. Clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces (e.g., doorknobs, light switches, and surfaces in and around toilets in patients’ rooms) on a more frequent schedule;
  5. Document increase cleaning and disinfecting procedures as recommended by the CCAOM Guidelines and CDC Guidelines;

the New Mexico Society for Acupuncture and Asian Medicine does not recommend the closing of acupuncturists’ clinics solely due to the public health emergency at this time.

NMSAAM is not qualified to give legal advice, and nothing in this document is intended to act as or substitute for legal advice. NMSAAM does not take any liability, expressed or implied, for acupuncturists who act on recommendations or conclusions contained in this document; it is provided as is and for information only.