SPRINGFIELD — If you want to get certified, you’ll need to go somewhere else, and pay for it out of your own pocket.
If you are looking to get certified for a medical marijuana card in Missouri, it won’t happen at CoxHealth or Mercy.
Springfield’s two medical giants made it clear that for right now, they will have nothing to do with medical marijuana.
The two hospital systems are not going to be seeing patients for medical cannabis certifications, for a number of reasons.
In a statement sent to KOLR10, Mercy says:
“Because Mercy places the highest priority on patient safety and quality care, we are not recommending medical marijuana treatment for our patients. Mercy believes there is insufficient medical and scientific research on the benefits and risks of cannabis products as part of medical treatment. In addition, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration hasn’t determined the safety or efficacy of cannabis.”-Sonya Kullman, Mercy Spokesperson
In a separate statement, CoxHealth had this to say:
CoxHealth recognizes that Missouri law allows marijuana to be used by individuals with certain qualifying medical conditions. At the same time, the use and possession of marijuana is still prohibited by federal law. This conflict between state and federal laws creates a tremendous dilemma for our organization.
Because we must certify every year that we are in compliance with all federal laws, or risk losing the ability to provide care for Medicare and Medicaid patients, we cannot act in a manner that is in any way inconsistent with federal law.
Given the current state of the law, and in agreement with our physician governance and leadership, physicians employed by CoxHealth will not be certifying patients as having a qualifying medical condition for use of medical marijuana. Additionally, physicians with privileges to see patients at CoxHealth also may not certify patients as having a qualifying medical condition for use of medical marijuana while they are receiving care at a CoxHealth facility, nor will medical marijuana be allowed in any form at CoxHealth.
We trust that there are likely therapeutic benefits to the use of medical marijuana. As has been the case in other states, we are confident that there will be many other resources available in our communities to support patients who wish to use medical marijuana.– Kaitlyn McConnell, CoxHealth Spokesperson
Thousands of peoples’ insurance plans go through one of the two health systems and insurance advisor Trevor Croley says the decision was made largely to marijuana being federally illegal, and it not being an FDA approved medication.
“A traditional Health insurance carrier that most of us have is not going to cover marijuana as part of the benefits of the policy. Mostly because marijuana is not an FDA approved medication. Unfortunately it’s going to be on the individual,” says Croley.
So if you want to get certified, you’ll have to find a doctor out of network.
Elite Pain Management is one of the few local practices right now that are willing to evaluate patients for potential medical cannabis use. Regional Director of Operations Justin Hobbs says doesn’t think it will affect people looking to get certified.
“I do think the community will have enough providers willing to step up. We’ve seen approximately 40 patients. Cash pay only — That’s the only way you can do it right now,” says Hobbs.
Hobbs says the decision by Mercy and Cox opens the door for clinics like theirs.
“I think for us luckily, that’s a good thing for us. Locally, for the independents, we can step up and say, ‘Hey we’re here to see you,’ and we’ll treat those patients,” says Hobbs.
Here are a few places willing to meet with patients to potentially certify them for a medical marijuana card:
- Dr. Gil’s Immediate Care (3000 E Division St.)
- Elite Pain Management (222 E Primrose St)
- Roark Family Health (Cassville, MO)
- Missouri Marijuana Card (Opens July 1 — 3900 E. Sunshine)
Of course, if people want to have a chance, they need to make sure they have medical records with them when they arrive for their appointment.
These clinics will help you walk through the steps for applications, which can be submitted starting tomorrow.