Recent Updates to the New York Medical Marijuana Program

Apr 28, 2017 –

New York’s medical marijuana program is providing patients with easier access to the programs and treatments they need in a number of ways.

Physician Assistants Qualify as Certified Professionals

One of the major changes occurring in the state’s medical marijuana program includes physicians’ assistants (PAs) qualifying as certified professionals. The supervising doctor of the PA must be a registered marijuana doctor for the PA to qualify for certification.

The more than 12,000 licensed PAs in the state of New York will drastically increase patient access, adding to the nurse practitioners who also can certify patients for medical marijuana as of November 2016.

NY Insures Now Have to Cover Some Medical Marijuana Related Doctor Visits

NY State has announced that New York Health insurers can no longer refuse to pay for doctor office visits that resulted in the patient getting a recommendation for medical marijuana. The Department of Financial Services said that as long as the sole purpose of the visit was not getting medical marijuana and the patient received other medical services that insurers will have to cover the visit. The state also said that while the insurers are required to cover the visit, they are not required to cover the medical marijuana itself – that expense still must be paid by the patient.

Chronic Pain Added to Qualifying Conditions

Another update to the state program is the addition of chronic pain as a qualifying condition.  Most who suffer from chronic pain do not find relief through any other means, and this amendment to the program could drastically change their daily life. Patients with chronic pain sometimes depend on addictive medicine to get through the day, but can now rely on a safer, more effective management plan.

The current medical conditions that qualify for marijuana treatment in New York include the following:

  • Chronic pain
  • Cancer
  • ALS
  • HIV Infection or AIDS
  • Epilepsy
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Huntington’s disease
  • Neuropathy

Telemedicine Appointments and Consultations

Not only are there updates to the types of approved conditions and qualifying providers, but there are some recent changes to how patients can obtain treatment for medical marijuana conditions. One of which is the scheduled appointment and telemedicine visit offers.

The physicians will screen the patients, integrate their medical records and input their patient information to the state department’s website. The patient and doctor will be able to do a live video conference-type consultation. From the dispensary section on the website, qualified patients can then schedule an online consultation with a dispensary without leaving their home. Benefits of dispensary deliveries include:

  • Better service for patients
  • No need for patients to travel
  • Safe and secure delivery
  • Ability to purchase products from dispensary outside your immediate area
  • Access to the newest products and medications dispensaries have to offer
  • One-on-one consultations licensed bud tenders to answer all of your questions
  • Ability to schedule deliveries on a set-it-and-forget-it mode

Dispensary Scheduling and Deliveries

New York is now one of five states (Connecticut, California, Massachusetts and Maine) that do not require you to physically go to a doctor’s office and get an examination to create a patient-physician association.  Five companies in New York are licensed to plant, manufacture and dispense medical pot. The New York State Department of Health granted them approval to begin home delivery of the Medical Marijuana Program. The companies include:

  • Etain, LLC
  • Vireo Health of New York, LLC
  • Bloomfield Industries, Inc.
  • PharmaCannis, LLC
  • Columbia Care NY, LLC

The updates to the program in New York allow easier communication between patients, doctors and dispensaries. The consultation process allows patients and dispensaries to view and discuss the options for each individual patient with the qualifying healthcare provider all over the web, if preferred by the patient.