On March 19 the Chief Medical Officer of Health issued a directive to regulated health professionals to suspend all non-essential and elective services. This applies to telehealth and in-person treatments. The directive requires members to use their own professional judgement in determining what is or is not an essential service in their practice. Since then, the College has received numerous questions regarding how this directive should be implemented by members of this College. In response, the College has issued the following position statements:
Position Statement on Essential Services
At this time, the College strongly recommends that all in-person services to be suspended until more guidance on essential services is available. The College will continue to work with the Ministry on developing further guidance on essential services. This decision has been made after much consideration, and we believe it is the correct decision for protecting the public interest. This is undoubtedly a difficult time for everyone, and we are grateful for the understanding and patience shown by members so far.
Recently, there has been some questions as to why the College’s position remains as a recommendation to the members instead of a mandatory order. Please note that the authority to suspend all practice lies with the Chief Medical Officer of Health. As such, Directive 2 remains the legal order that members are required to comply with. It is the position of the College that members go beyond the requirements of Directive 2, and should cease all in-person services. However, unless and until an order from the Chief Medical Officer of Health is made, this will remain a recommendation from the College.
For more information on this, please see the Position Statement on Essential Services.
Position Statement on Telepractice
Many members have asked if they are permitted to conduct services remotely. As noted above, telepractice may only be used for essential services at this time. In addition to this requirement, the College’s position is that telehealth may be used for current patients only. Furthermore, telepractice must not be used for any assessment, treatment, or modality that requires the member to physically touch or assess the patient. For example, providing a TCM diagnosis, acupuncture, Tui Na, or cupping, may not be conducted via telepractice.
Please see the Position Statement on Telepractice for more detail.