COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions

The Board has received many queries since the announcement of chiropractic’s classification as an essential service for acute and emergency care.  We have developed this Frequently Asked Questions page on the Board’s website, please check here before emailing through your questions, we will keep it as up to date as we can.

The Board would also like to take this moment to remind you, that as only acute and emergency care can occur during this time, it is not expected that many face-to-face appointments will be required.  All treatments that can be deferred, or managed through over the counter pain medication, should be deferred until after the lockdown is finished, and the Ministry of Health has given further instructions. 

The Board is investigating what Alert Level 3 will look like and will keep you posted as that information becomes available.

ACC related questions:

Please refer any ACC related question to ACC, as the Board is not in a position to comment on ACC’s guidelines and requirements.  To make an enquiry, please email providerbusinesscontinuity@acc.co.nz.

PPE related questions:

The Board cannot advise you on PPE requirements as these are mandated by the Ministry of Health (MoH).  The Personal protective equipment use in health care website may assist you with any queries you have.  On 7 April 2020 the MoH published further information regarding PPE which may also help you:  Guidelines for the use of personal protective equipment for frontline health care workers.

Government Subsidy for small businesses

The Board understands this may be a difficult time for you, your family, staff and business,  However, as the Government subsidy and grants are not managed by the Board, any related question should be addressed to Work and Income COVID-19 Support, more information is available on the NZ Government Financial Support website.

This includes any advice regarding your lease arrangements for your clinic.  These should be addressed either through your letting agent, or your bank manager.

Determining an acute or emergency condition

In its Pandemic Alert 4 policy and guidelines, the Board defined acute and emergency care as:

  • severe pain that cannot be controlled by medication or the patient following self-help advice;
  • those patients in intractable pain;
  • those patients whose serious chronic conditions are rapidly deteriorating and would otherwise be compelled to seek urgent medical care.

The Board expects you to exercise your professional and clinical judgement to deliver safe care informed by the Competency Based Professional StandardsCode of Ethicsstandards of cultural competence and all other relevant standards including the Ministry of Health and updates on Covid-19.

It is your responsibility to establish if a patient can be managed through telehealth, requires over the counter medication, or as a last a resort face-to-face visit.  You must be able to provide evidence that your clinical decision was justified.

Please factor in your decision to see a patient face to face, whether the patients’ need for care is greater than the risk of community transmission of COVID-19.

Professional availability

Because you are considered essential for acute and emergency care only, it is important the public is not misled to believe your clinic is open.  If you are inclined to advertise your ability to manage acute and emergency care, you must identify the strict requirements as specifically stated by the Board in it Pandemic Alert 4 policy and guidelines.  You must have personally completed a telehealth assessment by video (telephone ONLY when no other means is available) and exhausted this means of patient care before progressing to a face to face consultation.

Please note, it is expected you will allow sufficient time for your telehealth advice to have a positive impact on the patients’ condition.

Registering with Board before or after treating an acute or emergency patient?

The visit, it can be registered either before, or after the treatment.

Non-clinical staff

We have received queries regarding non-clinical and support staff.  In the Board’s Pandemic Alert 4 policy and guidelines, the Board states that only yourself and the patient is to be present in the building with the practitioner; a carer or guardian may be allowed to accompany the patient in appropriate circumstances. 

A friendly reminder

We are at the half-way point of the Alert Level 4 lockdown and it is therefore, timely to remember the reason for these unprecedented measures; that is to minimize contact with those outside your bubble, protect the vulnerable, and to stop the spread of COVID-19.  In the words of the Rt Hon Jacinda Ardern “Right now we have a window of opportunity to break the chain of community transmission – to contain the virus – to stop it multiplying and to protect New Zealanders from the worst.  Our plan is simple. We can stop the spread by staying at home and reducing contact.