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Treating Your Patients During the COVID-19 Pandemic Amidst State and Local Orders
By FCA Asst. General Counsel Kim Driggers   
Wednesday, 25 March 2020
Should you stay open or shouldn’t you?  This is a personal and business decision only you can make.  The FCA interpretation of Executive Order 20-72 is that only medically unnecessary, non-urgent or non-emergency procedures or surgeries are prohibited.  This does NOT include chiropractic care.  The Governor’s latest Executive Order falls squarely in line with CMS’s announcement on March 15, 2020, to take measures to preserve essential medical supplies and personal protective equipment necessary to respond to this emergency.

The medical care prohibited under this order is:
Elective or non-medically necessary surgical procedures;
Surgical procedures that can be postponed without putting the patient’s immediate health, safety or well-being at risk;
Medical procedures that would consume personal protective equipment, that can be postponed without putting the patient’s immediate health, safety or well-being at risk
 
Read on for information regarding massage therapy and Homeland Security definitions of essential services.  

The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), within the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, recently issued its Memorandum on Identification of Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers During COVID-19 Response.  CISA developed a list of “Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers," of which physicians are included. The list of essential and continued critical infrastructure workers can be found here

Chiropractic physicians can continue to see and treat patients.  If that treatment includes your employee, a licensed massage therapist, performing massage or physical therapy modalities as part of a treatment protocol for the benefit of your patient, there is nothing in the Governor’s Order 20-72 to prevent your office from continuing treatment.  If your County or City is under a shelter in place order such as the one issued last night in Orange County, Florida, while you need to review the order pertaining to your county, doctors’ offices are generally deemed “essential businesses” in the language of the Order and, therefore, are exempt from the shutdown.  If an LMT is employed by you as part of your “doctor’s office”, then those services performed under your supervision to treat a patient, would also be included in the exemption.

Neither the Governor’s Executive Order nor the County or City Emergency Orders / Declarations REQUIRE you to stay open.  If you, as an owner of a business, decide that by staying open puts you and your staff at too much risk of contracting COVID-19, then there is nothing that requires you to remain open. Governor DeSantis has stated that part of the reason he has allowed Counties to individually determine the need for shelter in place orders, is because not every county has been impacted the same.  This is your decision to make. Whether open or closed, everyone should follow guidance from the CDC, as well as State and local government officials, regarding strategies to limit disease spread.

For additional resources to help get you through these unprecedented times, please visit the Public News section of our website at www.fcachiro.org where you can review each of our many posted Bulletins since the initial declaration of Florida’s state of emergency.  This includes listening to expert advice on relevant COVID-19 issues through free webinars offered by FCA and member benefit partners such as ChiroHealth USA and others.

Your continued FCA membership is ever so important and we are thankful for each and every one of you.  The FCA will remain engaged through fcachiro.org and e-bulletin updates to bring you the latest possible information and help as you navigate this unprecedented time.