Are you still open?
Yes, Live Oak Acupuncture & Wellness Center remains open to serve the Central Texas community.
What about the Governor’s Executive Order?
On March 22 Governor Abbott issued an executive order directed at expanding hospital capacity and conserving personal protective equipment (PPE) to address the COVID-19 pandemic. He ordered licensed healthcare providers to postpone procedures and surgeries that are not immediately medically necessary. In a press release that followed the executive order, however, it was clarified that “this does not apply to any procedure that, if performed in accordance with the commonly accepted standard of clinical practice, would not deplete the hospital capacity or the personal protective equipment needed to cope with the COVID-19 disaster” which describes the services that take place in our clinic.
What about Waco’s Shelter In Place Order?
According to the City of Waco’s March 24th declaration (section 10.a.1), it is permissible to leave your home to visit a health care professional under the current Shelter in Place order. Although the Waco Policy Department has explicitly stated that they will not pull people over to question them about where they are going during the shelter in place order, if you are concerned about this we encourage you to print the email confirmation of your appointment at our clinic to carry with you on your way to and from our facility.
How you might benefit from Traditional Chinese Medicine during this time
Our objective is to continue to offer services that many of our patients have come to rely upon to manage pain and other conditions that might otherwise prompt them to seek medical treatment at other facilities (such as primary care physician offices, urgent care centers, and emergency rooms) that are currently directing their focus toward COVID-19 response. In this sense we believe that we are, in fact, relieving a burden on other parts of the healthcare system.
Research and clinic experience suggests that acupuncture and other TCM modalities are useful for:
- Immune support
- Management of other conditions (e.g. allergic rhinitis, chronic sinusitis, and asthma) that might enhance risk for viral respiratory infection
- Pain relief (some evidence suggest that use of NSAIDs in COVID-19 leads to more severe disease, acupuncture may help you to reduce your reliance on these medications for the management of every day pain)
Steps that we are taking to keep you safe
- Although many of our patients have come to rely on our help with respiratory illnesses in the past, in an effort to safeguard all our patients we have not been treating any respiratory illness in the clinic for nearly six weeks. WE ARE NOT TREATING KNOWN OR SUSPECTED COVID-19 PATIENTS.
- Since mid-February, long before local authorities were implementing any special arrangements, we have been asking individuals who cannot meet the requirements of our COVID-19 illness and travel policy to not come to the clinic.
- As part of this policy, we have asked all patients who are coughing or sneezing for any reason to not come to the clinic. This is in an effort to minimize the chance that asymptomatic or presymptomatic COVID-19 carriers could aerosolize viral particles in our space.
- Unlike some other health care providers (such as dentists) we do not ever have occasion to perform aerosol generating medical procedures.
- Upon arrival, we measure vital signs (including temperature and pulse oximetry) of all individuals entering the clinic and ask individuals with any abnormality to return home and contact their primary care physician.
- As a medical clinic, we have always followed OSHA guidelines for cleaning and sanitation of our facility. Starting in mid-February, we implemented additional measures, including sanitation of all touch surfaces in common areas of the clinic on at least an hourly basis (often more frequently), sanitation of all touch surfaces in each treatment room between patients (including changing all linens on tables and recliner chairs between patients, which we have always done), and sanitation of all floors and furniture at the beginning of each day.
- We are amply stocked with hand sanitizer, which we have always used obsessively. We are now asking everyone who enters the clinic to sanitize their hands immediately. We are sanitizing hands multiple times during each patient encounter and thoroughly washing hands with soap and water between patients.
- We have staggered appointments so that each patient can be moved into a private treatment room as soon as they arrive at the clinic.
- Our treatment rooms are large enough to allow for six feet of physical distancing between patient and provider, with the exception of the one minute or so required for actual needle placement. Experts, including this ICU physician in New York City, have said that this type of contact falls far short of what is required to transmit COVID-19 infection between patient and provider or vice versa (see the section of the video that spans from approximately 31:00 – 34:00 in particular, although we encourage you to watch this very detailed and reassuring video in its entirety).
Alternatives to in-clinic care
We encourage all patients to make their own decision about whether to come to the clinic and will support you in whatever decision you make. We are not enforcing our usual late-cancellation policy for anyone who chooses to cancel appointments because of concerns related to COVID-19 or who develops symptoms that make them ineligible to come to the clinic based on our COVID-19 illness and travel policy.
If you choose not to or are unable to come to the clinic for face-to-face treatment, we encourage you to consider telemedicine services as an alternative. We are shipping herbs and supplements and allowing patients to pick up herbs or supplements from the no-contact dropbox outside our clinic. Many patients have expressed surprise at how informative, calming, and reassuring our telemedicine services have been for them during this uncertain time.