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It’s all hazy: Medical marijuana report remains MIA

Seven percent of the physicians were responsible for 56 percent of the medical marijuana certifications.

It’s all hazy.

Florida officials were supposed to release a new report that would detail medical marijuana use in Florida, including smoking marijuana, but the report has been delayed and the Department of Health isn’t providing any insight as to why.

The Boards of Osteopathic Medicine and the Board of Medicine’s Physician Certification Review Pattern Panel were slated to discuss the findings of the report at a meeting Friday. But DOH Communications Director Alberto Moscoso said the discussions were postponed because panel members “did not have sufficient opportunity to review the report prior to the meeting.”

Usually, the Department of Health posts the information that medical boards will discuss at upcoming meetings days – if not weeks – in advance, so the public can review the information. But that wasn’t the case in this instance.

The News Service of Florida made a public records request for the final report, but it wasn’t available at press time. Moscoso said the report should be posted for public pursual in the coming days.

Board members earlier this year discussed a draft copy of a report from data collected between Oct. 1, 2018, and March 31, 2019. It included patient certifications for non-euphoric and full-strength medical marijuana and five different modes of administration: inhalation, oral, topical, suppository and under-the-tongue.

The report did not include data on smoking medical marijuana, which wasn’t legal until March 18.

The final report will provide the first insights on the number of patients who are smoking medical marijuana, the amount they are smoking and the number of physicians who certify the patients to smoke medical marijuana.

Meanwhile, members of the Boards of Osteopathic Medicine and the Physician Certification Review Pattern Panel were concerned with the insights the draft report did provide. Specifically, the draft report showed that 1,207 physicians had active medical- marijuana certifications during the six-month review period, but just 89 of them were responsible for 94,850 of certifications. Put another way, 7%  of the physicians were responsible for 56% of the medical marijuana certifications.

In other news, President Donald Trump’s administration announced on Friday that it will require hospitals to provide patients with accessible information about “standard charges,” including public payer-specific negotiated charges, the amount the hospital is willing to accept in cash from a patient for an item or service, and the minimum and maximum negotiated charges for 300 common shoppable services, in a manner that is consumer-friendly.

Hmm. Sounds a lot like what former governor and now U.S. Sen. Rick Scott pushed for here in Florida. That took three years to get up and running, and, as the News Service reported earlier this month, the information still isn’t complete.

The Trump administration also earlier this week issued a pair of new rules that it claims will increase “transparency.” The federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services is revamping rules that define how states can collect money to fund supplemental Medicaid payment programs. This could have a large impact on Florida, which is authorized to receive $1.5 billion annually in supplemental Medicaid payments through what is known as the Low Income Pool.

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Republished with permission of The Associated Press.

The News Service of Florida provides journalists, lobbyists, government officials and other civic leaders with comprehensive, objective information about the activities of state government year-round.

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