January 2022 update:
Happy new year! Though unfortunately we find ourselves in the midst of yet another surge in cases, with increased hospitalizations and deaths likely following. None of our office policies have changed and remain consistent with the policies that were updated during the delta variant surge. For those details, please read the August 2021 update below. Of course, I and all office staff are fully vaccinated. As medical providers and staff we were able to access the Moderna vaccine early, in January 2021. Boosters followed in September 2021. I and all staff will continue to take any additional boosters as soon they become available. If you have concerns about any of our policies, please let us know. – Sean Michael Hall, L.Ac.
August 2021 update:
Our office pandemic policies have been updated to reflect the recent change in California Covid-19 restrictions and the more recent Delta variant surge.
- Masks are required and must be worn at all times while in the clinic, both in the common areas and during your treatment, regardless of vaccination status.
- Staff and providers will continue to wear masks at all times.
- Rooms will continue to be aired out with open windows and/or HEPA filters for 15-30 minutes between patients. All surfaces will continue to be fully disinfected between patients.
- Our waiting area is now in use, though with some provisions.
- Please wait until 5 or 10 minutes before your appointment time to enter.
- If the waiting area is occupied by another party, please wait in a chair outside.
- If you prefer to text us when you arrive, please feel free to do so. We’ll text you back when we’re ready for you to come in.
Cold, Flu, Covid Symptoms
- We are not allowing patients in the clinic with symptoms related to cold, flu or Covid-19, even with a negative Covid-19 test.
- If you have a fever, cough, sore throat or other sign of infection, please let us know as soon as possible. We’ll cancel or reschedule your appointment at no charge.
- Let us know if you would like us to convert your acupuncture appointment to a telemedicine appointment, as herbal medicine may be recommended.
- Added a question regarding gatherings to the screening you will complete prior to each visit to the clinic. (Please abstain from visiting the clinic if you’ve been to any gatherings where appropriate precautions were not being universally followed. Details will be discussed when you make an appointment, or feel free to email or call if you’d like clarification.)
- Instituted temperature checks upon entrance to the clinic.
- Increased the amount of time each room is vacant between patients from 30 minutes to a minimum of 45 minutes – so that open windows, fans and HEPA filters have even more time to circulate fresh air.
Update (June 1, 2020):
After months of closure our clinic is now open on a limited basis, with PPE, social distancing, screening and cleaning protocols in place.
In doing so, we’ve joined the growing list of medical practices that are now offering on-site patient care, with the necessary precautions in place. These precautions include thorough patient-screening protocols derived from the state, the county and our associated medical groups; guidelines around maintaining social distance; the use of personal protective equipment (PPE); and changes in the use of our waiting area and treatment rooms.
Before scheduling, please note:
All patients scheduling an appointment will be screened twice: once when scheduling the appointment and again before the appointment begins. Patients with cold or flu symptoms, including cough, fever, chills, sore throat, or loss of sense of smell or taste will not be allowed into the clinic. If you have any of these symptoms, please schedule a telemedicine consult. Herbal therapy can likely be helpful, but we cannot treat you in person.
We also require that any visitors to the clinic:
- Have practiced social distancing for at least the previous two weeks.
- Have not had contact with a person confirmed to have COVID-19.
- Wear a face covering at all times while in the clinic.
- Wash or sanitize their hands immediately upon entering the clinic.
Furthermore, our reception area will be mostly out of service. We ask that all visitors to our clinic inform us of their arrival by text. You’ll be asked to wait in your car or outside of the clinic until we are ready to begin the treatment. (Details will be discussed during your pre-treatment screenings.) Certain accommodations can be made based on medical necessity.
Additional precautions we are taking:
- Treatment rooms will be rotated, so that each room will be vacant for a minimum of 30 minutes between each patient visit. This allows adequate time for a thorough disinfecting of all treatment room surfaces, as well as time for open windows and each room’s HEPA filter to adequately circulate fresh air.
- Appointment times will be staggered, and our reception area will be mostly unused, so that visitors to the clinic will not encounter one another. This means that only one or two of our three treatment rooms will be in use at any given time.
- All common area surfaces (doorknobs, chairs, counters, bathroom surfaces, etc.) will be disinfected three times daily. Professional cleaners continue to come weekly and are also following enhanced Covid-19 disinfecting guidelines.
- Gloves and surgical mask will be used by your provider.
- And, of course, as a tightly regulated medical facility we will continue to strictly adhere to all CDC and California Acupuncture Board mandated standard and universal precautions.
Telemedicine consultations are now a permanent part of our practice.
Many of the conditions that we see in our clinic respond well to herbal and nutritional approaches, as well as acupressure and lifestyle recommendations. Telemedicine consults are 15 minutes for routine or ongoing complaints, and 45 minutes for more nuanced or complex issues. They are a great option for implementing strategies to help manage your:
- Acute cold or flu symptoms
- Immune system support
- Hormonal health
- Digestive health
- Stress, insomnia and anxiety
- Seasonal allergies
You can schedule a telemedicine consultation here, or by calling or emailing us.
A note for our patients taking herbs.
The practice of traditional Chinese herbal therapy is complex and nuanced, and regular modifications to the herbs in your prescribed formula are essential to keeping that formula both effective and safe. In China, herbal consultations are conducted weekly for acute conditions and monthly for chronic conditions so that any changes in pulse, tongue and clinical signs and symptoms can be taken into account. When you come for acupuncture, we are also gathering all of the necessary data we need to dispense your herbal formulas.
If you are not coming for acupuncture, we require that patients taking herbs schedule 15-minute telemedicine consults so that we can gather the data essential to keeping your herbal formulas safe and effective. There are exceptions. The longer you’ve been taking a formula without modifications, the longer we may feel comfortable dispensing those herbs without a consultation. Please feel free to reach out via email to see if we require a consultation in your case. I know this is a different paradigm from how Western herbs and pharmaceuticals are dispensed. But this nuanced approach is where the power, efficacy and safety of traditional Chinese herbal therapy comes from.
Please check back regularly for additional updates. We can’t wait to see you in person!
COVID-19 Update History:
April 15, 2020
Our clinic is continuing to follow the extended “Shelter in Place” order, and will likely remain closed until Monday, May 4th. However, we are:
- Monitoring phone and email. Please feel free to call (510 457-8666) or email (firstname.lastname@example.org) at any time.
- We are conducting remote telemedicine consultations for our patients, as well as for new patients. Return patients can schedule 15-minute consultations (sufficient for most situations), or 45-minute consultations (appropriate for new or more complex issues that arise). New patients can schedule an initial 45-minute consultation. You can schedule telemedicine appointments online here. Or, contact us directly and we are happy to schedule your appointment directly. If you have an urgent need for an immediate appointment, we can likely make that happen, just let us know.
- We are available to refill herbal formulas, and for pickup of any other herbal products or nutraceutical supplements you may be taking. Currently, Maria is in the office on Thursdays from noon to 3pm to fill orders and arrange pickup. Social distancing precautions are being taken for herb pickup. And we are taking additional precautions when preparing herbal formulas, including more frequent surface disinfection, disinfection of containers after preparation, use of PPE (gloves, mask) while making herbal formulas.
March 16, 2020
In case you haven’t heard, a “shelter in place” order has been issued for Alameda county, effective 12:01am Tuesday, March 17th. It is currently projected to end on April 6th. In addition to many other things, the order states that “all routine medical appointments and elective procedures are to be canceled or rescheduled.” Of course, we will be following this directive and we urge you to do the same.
We will be open until 7pm this evening, and working with our currently scheduled patients until that time. All appointments from Tuesday, March 17th through Monday, April 6th have been cancelled. We are in the process of calling or emailing all patients that are scheduled over those weeks.
If you are currently undergoing herbal therapy, we encourage you to continue. We’re reaching out to most of you to make sure you have enough herbs to last a month. If you haven’t heard from us and would like to continue with herbal therapy, please email or call us as soon as possible. You can come to the clinic until 7pm this evening (Monday) and from 10am until noon tomorrow (Tuesday) to pick up herbs. But, please let us know in advance so we can have your order ready. If you need herbs, but are unable to pick them up during those times, let us know and we will do our best to make other arrangements.
We will be monitoring phone and email over the next three weeks, so feel free to reach out. Please stay home, be well, and we look forward to seeing you again soon!
March 11, 2020
Your health and safety, and the health and safety of all of our patients, are our primary concern. In light of the current coronavirus/COVID-19 outbreak we are taking extra precautions and asking you to do the same.
- If you have acute cold or flu symptoms, especially a cough or fever, please cancel your appointment. In the past, we have encouraged treatment for sick patients, but due to the nature of this outbreak we ask patients with cold or flu symptoms to stay home. If you are currently being treated for a chronic cough or seasonal allergies that you are certain are unrelated to a cold or flu, we encourage you to continue with regular treatments. If you are at all unsure about whether you should come, please contact us and we can discuss your case over the phone before your scheduled appointment.
- Please wash your hands frequently. The CDC recommended techniques for hand washing can be found here.
- If you have to sneeze or cough, do so into a tissue or paper towel, then immediately discard it into a closed-lid trash can. Wash your hands, or use hand sanitizer directly after.
- Do not touch your face unless you have just washed your hands. If you do touch eyes, nose or mouth, please wash your hands or use hand sanitizer after.
Here at East Bay Acupuncture we are also taking the precautions listed above. In addition:
- We previously used effective, eco-friendly cleaning products around the clinic in our always-rigorous cleaning protocols. We are now using stronger, though still safe, CDC recommended hydrogen peroxide and/or bleach disinfecting agents.
- We disinfect all surfaces, door knobs, computer keyboards, and tablets multiple times every day.
- And we are continuing to closely follow all state of California clean needle techniques and medical facility cleanliness requirements, before, during and after each patient encounter.
And importantly, we will waive all cancellation fees for any appointment cancelled due to COVID-19 concerns. But please, do strive to give us as much notice as possible. And, as long as you don’t have acute cold or flu symptoms, we do encourage you to continue coming to your appointments.