Clinical Guidelines For Practice Regarding Public Health Order Dated 13 November 2020

by | Nov 14, 2020 | COVID-19 Pandemic | 0 comments

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The November 13th order extends the April 30th order until they are amended or rescinded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

Download from DOH site

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.

CCAOM Guidelines  (courtesy of ASA website)

Conclusion and Recommendation


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

Reopening Guidelines: Doctors of Oriental Medicine May 20, 2020 provided by the New Mexico Medical Advisory Team (MAT)

CCAOM Guidelines Updated April 30, 2020

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:

Screening patients for COVID-19 symptoms at time of scheduling, via online or phone screening;

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;

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;

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;

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.

Insurance Report for DOMs

Date: Nov 11, 2020

Category: Insurance, National


Report of Insurance Committee Meeting:

By Amanda Wheat, DOM;

NMSAAM Insurance Committee Chair;

The ASA insurance committee and all state liaisons had their first meeting on October 27th. The meeting was brief with introductions from each state’s representatives and discussion of the VA/TriWest issues taking the majority of the time.

TriWest was lowering reimbursement rates per the changes in the CMS RVUs for acupuncture prematurely on April 1st instead of June 24th asking for recoupment from practitioners to reflect these lower rates. They were paying acupuncturists as mid-level providers at only 80% of the CMS rates. After the ASA contacted both TriWest and the VA, the VA backed the ASA’s view that we should be reimbursed 100% and recoupment should only go back to June 24th. The ASA recommends that practitioners do not ignore recoupment letters. These should be kept track of and reconciled with the EOBs to ensure the proper amount is being recouped. They are also trying to get TriWest and Optum to allow the 3 acupuncture units per the CMS guidelines.

There was a very brief mention of the ASA working with utilization management companies such as ASH. In their October newsletter the ASA mentioned reviewing the policies that these UMs are using for acupuncture. This collaboration should help with the current poor way that we are reimbursed.

The ASA has come up with an insurance committee inquiry form for members to use when they need help with insurance claims they have not been able to resolve on their own. This form would be distributed to our members and once filled out they can return it to us. We can follow up with the complaint ourselves or we can forward it to the ASA. They have said they are willing to help any of our members who are having trouble with claims, but this form will ensure the practitioner has made all of the proper steps to resolve it themselves before asking for help. Mori West said she will be forwarding this form to us by the end of the month.