Many FCA members have inquired whether, like other businesses, they are forced to close their doors based upon the Governor’s new Executive Order 20-72, for the safety and health of their employees, or in order to comply with a City or County Declaration / Emergency Order. While the Governor’s new Executive Order is of some ambiguity and we will continue to seek clarification, the Governor’s press conference, along with the Introduction to EO 20-72, reveals the purpose of the Executive Order is to, “conserve all medical supplies including personal protective equipment, or only that which is necessary to be used in response to this emergency…” At this time, we are recommending that, if a personal decision is made to keep your doors open, at this writing, you are free to do so.
Note that the FCA has not reviewed every City or County Declaration / Emergency Order where your answer will also exist. In those County or City Declarations, you will likely be defined as a healthcare provider or doctor who is exempt from any mandatory closure, but that you are not required (though you may) stay open. The FCA continues to monitor the Governor’s office for any further Executive Orders on this issue. Here is what we know:
- On March 1, 2020, The Governor of Florida issued Executive Order Number 20-51, directing the State Health Officer and Surgeon General to declare a Public Health Emergency due to the discover of COVID-19.
- On March 9, 2020, the Governor of Florida issued Executive Order Number 20-52, declaring a State of Emergency for the State of Florida related to COVID-19.
- In EO 20-52, the Governor allows “medical professionals and workers, social workers, and counselors with good and valid professional licenses issued by states other than the State of Florida” to render services in Florida during the state of emergency, as long as those services are rendered free of charge and under the auspices of the American Red Cross of the Florida Department of Health.
- On March 17, 2020, the Governor of Florida issued Executive Order Number 20-68, requiring DBPR to take measures with respect to bars, pubs and nightclubs as necessary to protect the public health, safety and welfare.
- To date, the Governor of Florida has not issued an Executive Order requiring particular healthcare providers to shut down.
- For some Counties and Cities, they have commented on healthcare providers, exempting them from the local shutdowns:
- Miami-Dade County Emergency Order 07-20 (on March 19, 2020) requires shutdown of various non-essential retail and commercial establishments. Listed as an “Essential retail and commercial business” which may remain open are, “healthcare providers, including, but not limited to doctors’ and dentists’ offices, urgent care centers, clinics, rehabilitation facilities, physical therapists, mental health professionals, psychiatrists, therapists, and pharmacies.” Chiropractic physicians, therefore, may remain open.
- City of Fort Lauderdale Declaration of Emergency Regulations March 17, 2020, exempting “hospital, healthcare and medical facilities”.
- This afternoon, Governor Desantis issued Executive Order 20-72. While a plain reading of the Order states that, “other health care practitioners’ office in the State of Florida are prohibited from providing any medically unnecessary, non-urgent or non-emergency procedure or surgery which, if delayed, ...” the examples used in the Order for non-emergency procedures are “endoscopy, cataract and lens surgeries, non-urgent spine and orthopedic procedures, and cosmetic procedures.”
While we read this last Executive Order as not applicable to chiropractic physicians, please continue to watch your FCA Bulletins for any clarification or amendment to this Executive Order.
In these particular instances, you are allowed to continue to keep your offices open, but, it is not a mandate. The decision to remain open continues to be a very personal decision for you, your staff, and your families. If you remain open, please adhere to patient screening protocols, follow CDC and DOH recommendations and re-visit the links provided to you earlier in "Public News" on the FCA website to navigate through these murky waters.