A Policy Statement from Northwestern Health Sciences University

The COVID-19 pandemic has provided an opportunity to re-evaluate our collective preparedness for future public health emergencies. As hospitals and primary care facilities shift attention toward emergency and urgent medical services, as well as infectious disease control, many other healthcare needs become secondary. Licensed complementary and integrative healthcare (CIH) providers, including doctors of chiropractic, acupuncturists, and massage therapists, constitute a workforce of approximately 300,000 individuals (1), with skills to alleviate various burdens on the healthcare system in times of crisis, and help keep the general population healthy. This brief outlines the ways in which CIH providers can be activated in times of healthcare crisis, and contribute to a more dynamic, wholisticoriented cross-sector workforce.

Extenders for Critical Care Screening and Triage

Many CIH providers are trained and qualified to assist with screening, laboratory work, triage and monitoring of the symptomatic public. Networks of CIH providers, many of whom are furloughed from their own clinical practices due to executive orders or the inability to implement safety standards in their clinics, are eager to serve as extensions of the healthcare system in these situations. Engaging CIH providers in these roles would help scale detection efforts quickly and with minimal instruction.

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