For medical marijuana users, the COVID-19 shutdowns raise urgent questions about how they access their medication and continue to contact their providers. Medical centers are cancelling non-emergency appointments and elective procedures. Many specialists are being called on to offer urgent care. How will this affect medical cannabis product supplies? And how can you make sure your medical marijuana treatment is isn’t interrupted? Here are some suggestions.
One bright spot during these crazy times: The federal government recently announced the expansion of telehealth services, also known as an online doctor, in an effort to curb the spread of coronavirus. Most providers will now be reimbursed for virtual care at the same rate they are for in-person visits.
Using telehealth services, patients and providers will be able to communicate virtually. This will help patients avoid unnecessary office or hospital visits, hopefully lowering their risk for contracting COVID-19.
“To protect public health, the bill will allow Medicare providers to extend telemedicine services to seniors regardless of where they live, at an estimated cost of $500 million,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a statement. The expansion of services is a part of the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act, intending to make services more accessible during a time of crisis.
What to do? Ask your medical marijuana provider if they offer telehealth consults. If yes, prepare for the appointment as you would any other, with some key differences:
Email Your Provider
More doctors’ offices are allowing patients to communicate by email, especially during these times. But this method requires you to follow these basic guidelines:
Turn to your Pharmacy for Help
Pharmacies offer services that can minimize your exposure to COVID-19 and other infectious diseases. Besides offering telehealth and video consults, many also offer these services as well:
Vaccinations. Getting immunizations for flu and pneumonia is important, especially if you are using medical marijuana for an underlying condition that weakens your immune system. Your pharmacy may offer them for free.