Coronavirus, Featured, Governor Polis, Greeley, Sherrie Peif

Chiropractors concerned over “non-essential” status under Polis’ lockdown order

GREELEY – Chiropractors across Colorado learned late Friday that they are likely unable to continue to treat patients during the statewide “stay-at-home” order put in place by Gov. Jared Polis.

All licensed chiropractors on Friday received an email from the Department of Regulatory Affairs that, essentially, said they will not be allowed to continue their practices unless they meet conditions not generally known to their field.

The email says that unless one of the following conditions are met, they will not be allowed to offer treatment.

  • There is a threat to the patient’s life if the procedure is not performed.
  • There is a threat of permanent dysfunction of an extremity or organ system if the procedure is not performed.
  • There is a risk of metastasis or progression of staging of a disease or condition if the surgery is not performed.
  • There is a risk that the patient’s condition will rapidly deteriorate if the procedure is not performed and there is a threat to life, or to an extremity or organ system, or of permanent dysfunction or disability.

“As is apparent, there are very few, if any, chiropractic procedures that fit within the rubric of these criteria,” the email reads. “And as a result, we expect that most chiropractic practices across the state will necessarily halt operations during the emergency.”

Norman Ouzts, the Chief Executive Officer for the National Board of Chiropractic Examiners, which is located in Greeley, said he is still needing some additional information, but concurs, that very few chiropractors will be able to keep their doors open.

“It doesn’t necessarily say you have to completely close your office, but it does lay out guidelines of what you can treat,” Ouzts said. “Based on those conditions, there are very few chiropractors that can treat their patients.”

Ouzts said it was unfortunate, especially since the president of the Federation of Chiropractic Licensing Boards, also based in Greeley, released a statement on March 17 offering guidance on how to deal with the pandemic.

“The FCLB encourages all chiropractors to stay up-to-date with recommendations and protocols established by the World Health Organization (WHO), the U.S. Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and local health departments in regard to COVID-19 and their jurisdictional licensing boards’ practice acts, rules, regulations, and policies,” Karlos Boghosian said in part. “The FCLB affirms that doctors of chiropractic are essential healthcare providers, ready to serve their communities both in daily care and in times of urgent need. Please know, that as our licensees are in the front lines of patient care, regulatory boards are working diligently behind the scenes to provide the support and information chiropractors need to act in the best interests of the public. I want to reiterate our gratitude to our member boards and your commitment to public protection.”

Posted on the door of a chiropractic business in Greeley

The Colorado House of Representatives Republican Caucus also got involved late Friday, sending the governor a letter asking him to reconsider the ban on Chiropractors.

“Physicians along with other health care workers provide essential services during this stressful time,” the letter reads. “Chiropractors in particular work out of specialized clinics and deal with particular health issues, usually unrelated to viral transmission. Their services keep patients seeking treatment out of physician offices and hospital, thus helping to minimize the spread of Covid-19.”

Ouzts agreed, adding he is concerned about the effects to patients if the ruling is not reconsidered.

“It fails to address an already overwhelmed medical system,” Ouzts said. “A large portion of the population suffers from headaches, neck pain and back pain. That is primarily what they treat.

Patients will continue to suffer with those conditions with this shelter in place and have nowhere to turn because they are discouraged from going to urgent care and hospitals.”

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