The ACAC received clarification regarding the provincial restrictions on close contact businesses issued on Friday, March 27, 2020. Per the Government of Alberta’s announcement:
- Regulated health professionals can continue to provide urgent, critical and emergency care to patients. However, these businesses are not permitted to provide any other (in-person) service to their patients if it does not constitute urgent, critical or emergency care.
The Government of Alberta is trying to limit non-essential close interactions in the community in an effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19, while at the same time keeping people out of emergency departments for services that regulated health professionals can provide in the community.
This is consistent with the ACAC's strong recommendation issued on March 20, 2020, so chiropractors should already be operating in this manner. However, as this is now a provincial government directive, we must remind members:
- As a member of a regulated profession, you have an ethical and fiduciary responsibility to abide by the rule of law and directives issued by government.
To ensure the profession is upholding the government's directives, ACAC members must do the following:
- If your clinic will see emergent patients, limit care to patients that meet the government's stated criteria above. There is no room for personal interpretation. If that criteria is unclear to you, you should not be practising right now.
- Clearly communicate the status of your practise as follows:
- State that your clinic is closed to in-person care except for emergent care and how to contact you for emergent care if needed.
- Indicate your ability to provide Telehealth services if you have received authorization by the Registrar.
- This should be clearly communicated via email, on your website and on your clinic door.
We remind members that the penalties for not following provincial directives include significant fines and possible jail time. Strictly adhere to the government's stated criteria.
Finally, please be cognizant of any municipal directives in addition to provincial directives and get your information directly from the municipality—do not rely on breaking news reports. For example, Calgary issued a municipal restriction on close contact personal care businesses yesterday as well. The press release is here. While some news reports included chiropractic care, the bylaws mentioned in the press briefing aren't applicable.
As yesterday demonstrated, this continues to be a rapidly evolving situation and its direction can change quickly. Please continue to watch for ACAC updates and respond accordingly.