Physicians interested in recommending medical marijuana are already completing the two hours of continuing medical education credit necessary before applying for a Certificate to Recommend from the State of Ohio.
The Ohio Medical Board projects the application for a Certificate to Recommend will be available in February of 2018. Physicians have also been brushing up on how to properly recommend medical marijuana by utilizing my Ohio Physician’s Guide To Cannabis Compliance. Clearly, physicians are preparing themselves for this new form of treatment, but for Ohio hospitals, the question remains, are you ready?
Are you prepared to allow your physicians to recommend medical marijuana to a patient? What if an inpatient with a recommendation has medical marijuana in her pocket – will you allow her to keep it? Should she self-administer her recommendation or should a physician or mid-level provider do that? Would that violate the Controlled Substances Act? How will the medical marijuana interact with other drugs the patient has already received? Could the hospital lose its Medicare enrollment or other federal licenses? Should the hospital take the medical marijuana and store it until the patient needs another dosage? It’s dizzying, I know.
These are just some of the questions that need to be addressed by an Ohio hospital’s leadership before the medical marijuana program begins in September of this year. Hospitals need to understand the risks associated with medical marijuana and have clear policies addressing how the hospital will handle the new treatment. If a hospital will allow medical marijuana, it must ensure that its policies detail procedures that strictly comply with Ohio’s medical marijuana law to firmly protect against any potential federal prosecution under the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer Amendment (the “Amendment”).
The Amendment was recently extended until February 8, 2018, but is often misunderstood as a prohibition on any federal