Tao to Wellness Acupuncture Inc, a professional corporation, is committed to protecting the health and well being of our patients and acupuncturists while providing care during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Emergence of COVID-19

On January 30, 2020 the World Health Organization declared an international public health emergency after the detection of a novel (new) coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 or COVID-19, that was first detected in Wuhan, China.  It is believed to be spread from close person-to-person contact (within 6 feet) through inhaled airborne respiratory droplets when an infected person sneezes or coughs. There are reports that some spread may be possible before people show symptoms, as well as by touching a surface where the virus is present and then transmitting the virus by touching the mouth, nose or eyes, but neither of these routes are considered to be the main way the virus spreads.  The CDC notes that knowledge of the scope and method of the infection is still being discovered. There is now evidence of community-spread, where the source of infection or exposure cannot be identified. The declaration of a public health emergency by the World Health Organization and the United States Department of Health and Human Services has been followed by similar declarations by state and local public health agencies. Local agencies can be found on the National Association of County and City Health Officials at https://www.naccho.org/membership/lhd-directory.  These declarations serve as prompts for acupuncture clinics to review and update protocols for infectious disease control.  The Clean Needle Technique Manual 7th Edition contains detailed information concerning regulations and best practices to minimize potential infection and maximize patient safety that apply to acupuncture care providers.  Many of these practices are considered universal and should become normalized clinic procedures.

 

Clinic setting assessment:

  • Two treatment rooms and one intake area allow patients private acupuncture treatments and the ability to practice social distancing from other patients at all times.
  • Each private treatment room holds one patient at a time.
  • Patients and acupuncturists have access to hand washing at all times.

 

Requirements for disinfection of surfaces and disposable items:

  • Floors, walls, tabletops shall be visibly clean
  • Clean and disinfect high-touch surface such as, but not limited to, doorknobs, light switches, desktops, treatment tables, treatment rooms, front office, pens, faucet handles, non-cloth covered chairs and the entire bathroom facility with applying an EPA-registered, hospital-grade disinfectant that specifies its use against COVID-19
  • All table and pillow coverings are single use and disposable.
  • All non-cloth seating areas that patients come into contact with are being disinfected.
  • All needles continue to be sterile, single use and disposed of after treatment.

 

Practice Source Control:

  • Patients and anyone accompanying them should stay home rather than seek treatment at Tao to Wellness if they exhibit any symptoms below:
  1. Plane travel in the last 14 days
  2. Exposure to anyone with Covid-19 in the last 14 days
  3. Fever
  4. Dry cough
  5. Tiredness
  6. Shaking with chills
  7. Muscle pain
  8. Headache
  9. Sore throat
  • A realistic assessment of infectious control requirements needed to assess potentially infectious patients alternatively to face to face triage includes telemedicine, email and phone calls.

 

Patient Protocol:

  • All patients will be verbally screened for symptoms of illness prior to clinic entry and temperatures will be taken at the door prior to entry with a ‘touchless’ infrared scan.
  • If a patient’s temperature is 100.4F or greater, the patient is asked to leave and details should be noted in the chart. TTW will provide an alternate means to provide integrative care to the patient through our telemedicine services. In addition, the patient should also be referred to their General Practitioner.
  • All patients are required to bring and wear a cloth mask upon arrival and throughout the entire time they are in the clinic. Alameda County requires everyone to wear a mask when in public. Any risk of airborne particles spreading is greatly reduced when we both the patient and acupuncturist wear a mask.
  • Upon arrival, all patients must go directly to the restroom to wash their hands thoroughly, then directly to the treatment room designated for them, patients should not linger in the waiting area.
  • All patients are asked to avoid coming early to their appointment since we may have a patient exiting the office. If you are early to your appointment, please wait in your car or the courtyard and until your designated treatment time.
  • Patients should also come alone to their appointment, with the exception of minors and patients who require a caregiver.
  • Touchless payment options are preferred like: Venmo (we are @taotowellness) and Zelle/Chase QuickPay (we are 510-883-0383) to reduce the areas that need disinfecting.
  • Please feel free to bring your own ear buds/headphones, eye pillow or something to keep you warm. (We also provide multi-use emergency blankets for a small fee)

 

Provider Protocol:

All staff and acupuncturists will be required to stay home if they have any of the following symptoms:

  1. Exposure to anyone with Covid-19 in the last 14 days
  2. Fever
  3. Dry cough
  4. Tiredness
  5. Shaking with chills
  6. Muscle pain
  7. Headache
  8. Sore throat
  • Providers to record their temperature before each shift.
  • Providers will wear surgical masks at all times. In addition to, gloves and/or rigorous hand washing before and after each patient interaction.
  • Jewelry is not recommended during clinic hours.
  • It is recommended to keep an office “uniform” or clothes that you will only wear for your clinic shift. Each provider can decide what is the best and cleanest protocol for them.

 

Tao to Wellness Protocol:

  • Tao to Wellness will provide signage to assist patient in washing hands, cough etiquette and how to stop the spread of germs.
  • Tao to Wellness to provide communication about what we are doing to enhance infection control to reassure patients through newsletters, social media and our website.
  • Christina Martin is our designated Safety Officer. She will ensure all safety guidelines are being adhered to and to keep up to date on emerging CDC & public health recommendations and guidance
  • Removal of fabric covered chairs and table linens
  • Providing single use disposable table paper on treatment tables and 3-ply pillow coverings.
  • HEPA air filters in every treatment room
  • Approved covid-19 EPA disinfectant wipes

 

Please refer to guidelines distributed by:

1) The Governor’s Website – Coronavirus (COVID-19) in California: https://covid19.ca.gov/

2) The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html

3) The California Department of Public Health (CDPH): https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CID/DCDC/Pages/Immunization/nCOV2019.aspx

4) Your local health department (the below link lists local health departments by locale): https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Pages/LocalHealthServicesAndOffices.aspx

Who can I contact if I suspect someone has COVID-19 or has been exposed to someone with COVID-19?

Are Acupuncturists required to report outbreaks of diseases? Please contact your local county public health department (third link listed above). While acupuncturists are not required to make a report, it is highly encouraged to notify your local public health department of suspected cases.

Can acupuncturists write notes excusing patients from school or work obligations? Yes, however, it is often up to a receiving organization’s policy to determine if the “excuse note” is acceptable for the purposes of their attendance policy.

Can acupuncturists turn away patients if a patient is suspected to have been exposed to COVID-19? The Board urges all licensees to take all reasonable preventive measures, as recommended by the California Department of Public Health, the Center for Disease Control and the local health departments, to protect themselves, their staff and their patients from possible exposure to COVID-19. In deciding what measure is appropriate for your situation, please note Business and Professions Code section 4955 (k), where patient abandonment is defined under unprofessional conduct as: “The abandonment of a patient by the licensee without written notice to the patient that treatment is to be discontinued and before the patient has had a reasonable opportunity to secure the services of another practitioner. “ Therefore, if you do feel the need to suspend the treatment of a patient in order to protect your staff and your other patients from possible exposure to COVID-19, the Board recommends that you provide three written referrals.

Statement on Xenophobia and Discrimination

There is no racial, ethnic or cultural basis for the emergence of COVID-19. Viruses mutate and emerge, and this virus is now sourced throughout the world. In the United States, Europe, and Australia members of the Asian Pacific Islander community, especially persons of Chinese descent, have been subjected to discrimination and exclusion. Fear and discrimination lead to bad health outcomes. Stigma makes people less likely to come forward, seek help, volunteer critical information and ask questions. Universal precautions dictate that there is no utility in assuming anyone is more or less infectious than anyone else and it is duty of the health care provider to put infection control procedures in place that apply to everyone. Unity, trust and compassion reduce stress and increase wellness, and are the only appropriate interpersonal response.

 

Any questions or concerns, please call 510-883-0383 or email christina@berkeley-acupuncture.com