By Dasha Morgan
Asheville – The Alternative Clinic in downtown Asheville at 23 Broadway Street is a Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture Clinic, which offers natural solutions for acute and recalcitrant diseases. Andrew and JulieAnn Nugent-Head have spent a combined 36 years in China studying directly under the last old doctors of Beijing. Through this teaching – disciple training, doctoral studies in the Chinese University system and residency in the hospitals of Beijing and Hangzhou, JulieAnn and Andrew have seen more patients, treatments and Chinese herbal prescriptions than most practitioners in the west will see in their lifetime. The Alternative Clinic has a number of other practitioners who offer other specific skills: David Trevino Lac, Liz Cross LAc, MBT 10694, Daniel Gonzalez, LAc, Gabby Hardin, and Maria Delahoz.
Nugent Head, who founded the practice with his wife JulieAnn, describes the way their Clinic must deal with the current coronavirus situation.
“In the middle of March, we saw only at-risk patients who would risk needing a visit to the hospital or increase in medications known to be dangerous or lower the immune system. We canceled all other appointments to lessen the chance of exposure to our at-risk patients by lowering the volume of traffic to the clinic. The following week, we informed all current patients to refill their formulas ahead of closing the clinic for 2 weeks. We all worked extended hours and filled our largest amount of herbs in a single week to ensure our patient base had the herbs they needed for their health ahead of the closure. We then kept the clinic completely empty for 1 week, not allowing any employee or customer to enter the premises. We went through deep cleaning and disinfecting procedures the following week, as well as began the process of restocking herbs which are in short supply for all Chinese medicine clinics across the country right now.
After the two week closure, we moved to limited pharmacy hours for patient refills, implementing all of the no contact procedures currently being used by other businesses. We are shipping herbs to our patients to support the Stay Home Stay Safe mandate. Our clinic practitioners have now moved to phone or video conferences with current patients to modify their formulations and keep them healthy in this time. Our clinic practitioners are only available to current patients, we are not taking any new patients while working in this manner. Our pharmacy is now working expanded limited hours to maintain stock and ship formulations to patients.
It has been our mission as a clinic to focus on our elderly and at-risk patients first and foremost, being sure they are supported in this time to prevent their need to visit hospitals, clinics, care centers, etc. which may increase their risk of exposure to the virus.
It has been our desire as a business to keep staff members who requested to remain employed as much as possible. We recognize that while the government is implementing many steps to protect income, it may be slow in coming and requires every business to do its best for its employees in the meantime.”
Both he and his wife teach internationally but have had to reschedule all of their teaching engagements until July. In the meantime he and his wife are busy planting, growing, and expanding their tea and herb farm in Madison County, as well as homeschooling their young son. During this time, their pharmacy which is considered the largest raw herb pharmacy in the Southeast, is open Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 12 – 4 pm to prepare herbal refills for pickup or shipment. To request a formula refill, please send an e-mail to the practitioner. For more information on this clinic, go to www.thealternativeclinic.org.