Medical Marijuana Hero

Intermountain Healthcare to let its doctors recommend medical marijuana

Posted on February 16, 2019 by Medtech[y] Staff


After the Utah Medical Cannabis Act passed in December, Intermountain Healthcare reached out to a number of people, including patients, advocates, physicians, nurses, and pharmacists in an effort to understand how to implement care for those patients with a qualifying condition as defined by the Utah Medical Cannabis Act.

Applying what was learned from these conversations, Intermountain created and implemented a process in which a letter can be given to patients affirming their established relationship with their provider, that they have a qualifying condition as defined by the Utah Medical Cannabis Act, and that they could benefit from treatment with medical cannabis.

“Intermountain providers, based on their knowledge, experience, and level of comfort with medical cannabis, will be able to provide the letter to patients who have qualifying conditions defined by the Utah Medical Cannabis Act,” said Mark Briesacher, MD, Intermountain’s chief physician executive.

Intermountain has formed a working group of primary care, neurology, palliative care, emergency medicine, advanced practice clinicians, nursing, and pharmacy specialists at Intermountain. They will advise leaders on clinical best practices across many specialties, develop and provide education, share how their patients and colleagues are doing, and help us to continuously improve the care and experience that our patients and families have.

“We appreciate the patience of everyone who has been involved. We have a great responsibility to care for and partner with patients as best we can, support our physicians, advanced practice clinicians, nurses and pharmacists, and help everyone comply with the Utah law,” Dr. Briesacher added. “Focusing on people is the best way to understand how we together can do all of these things. It’s all about teaming up to help people live the healthiest lives possible.”

Dr. Briesacher said the new Utah Medical Cannabis Law is complex, which required Intermountain to thoroughly review, study, and engage clinical and community and advocacy groups, along with other stakeholders, during the past few months.

“Our approach has been one that’s focused on people. We’ve sought to understand in every conversation what the law means to them and what their needs are, and we’ve had the opportunity to then communicate across groups and begin to address the concerns and needs voiced by our physicians, APCs, caregivers, patients, and other stakeholders. We’ve worked diligently to verify protections to providers who choose to give letters to their patients and ensure our process fully complies with state law.”

Intermountain providers, based on their knowledge, experience, and level of comfort with medical cannabis, will be able to provide the letter to patients who have qualifying conditions defined by the Utah Medical Cannabis Act.