The New York State Department of Health announced several milestones in the state’s Medical Marijuana program, including the certification of more than 3,350 patients since the addition of chronic pain as a qualifying condition in late March, the registration of nearly 1,000 practitioners, and the publication of a list of registered practitioners who have consented to be listed publicly.
“We are improving access to medical marijuana for patients in need across New York State,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker. “As we have said from the very beginning, we will continue to grow this program responsibly and help ease the suffering of those who may benefit from this treatment option.”
INCREASE IN PATIENTS
In late March 2017, the Department expanded the Medical Marijuana program to include chronic pain as a qualifying condition. The addition of chronic pain to the other ten qualifying conditions has led to an increase in the number of certified patients and strengthened the program.
Since the addition of chronic pain, an additional 3,356 patients have become certified for the program, representing an 18% increase. As of May 5, 18,348 patients in total are certified for the program.
The Department has taken definitive steps to expand patient access in communities throughout New York State. Central to that effort is increasing the number of health care providers who are registered to certify patients for the Medical Marijuana program.
Over the past seven months, the Department has enhanced the medical marijuana program by empowering nurse practitioners and physician assistants to join physicians in their ability to certify patients for medical marijuana. These additions have increased the number of registered practitioners by ten percent. As of May 5, 995 practitioners are registered to certify patients for medical marijuana.
PUBLIC LIST OF REGISTERED PRACTITIONERS
A public list of registered practitioners will help New Yorkers with debilitating illnesses better identify and access this treatment option. A list of practitioners registered with New York’s Medical Marijuana program who have consented to be publicly listed is now available on the Department’s website at: https://www.health.ny.gov/regulations/medical_marijuana/practitioner/public_list.htm.
The Department is prohibited from publicly posting a registered practitioner’s information without that practitioner’s consent.
In addition to the public list of practitioners,a list of practitioners registered with the medical marijuana program on the Health Commerce System (HCS) has been available to health care providers since February 2016. Through this process, certified patients simply need to speak with their health care provider to find a registered practitioner.
The HCS is a web-based public health and immunization tracking system used by thousands of health care providers for a variety of applications. Most health care providers already have an HCS account, and can refer a patient to a practitioner registered with the program by logging on and accessing the available list. The HCS is only available to health care providers.
As of May 5, 60% percent of practitioners are listed through the HCS, while 32% percent are listed publicly.
Medical marijuana in New York can only be purchased at the dispensing facilities operated by the registered organizations. Medical marijuana is not available at practitioners’ offices, clinics, or hospitals. For a list of dispensing facility locations and their websites, visit http://www.health.ny.gov/regulations/medical_marijuana/application/selected_applicants.htm.
Ensuring that patients have access to registered practitioners, including publishing a list of consenting practitioners, was one of the major recommendations of the Department’s two-year report on the Medical Use of Marijuana Under the Compassionate Care Act.