Regular readers of our blog know that we frequently mention qualified medical providers (QMP) and the role they play in helping patients obtain their medical cannabis cards. But a QMP’s role goes beyond just filling out an electronic application. They also play a role in recommending the appropriateness of cannabis-derived medications.
Have you ever been curious as to what that role is? If so, this post will explain it. Keep reading to learn more about just how involved your QMP is in your medical cannabis use.
Who Qualifies as a QMP?
QMPs in the state of Utah are medical professionals already licensed to prescribe controlled substances. It would be normal to assume that a QMP is a medical doctor (MD). That may or may not be the case. Many QMPs are MDs, but they do not have to be. Other types of medical professionals that can be licensed include:
- osteopathic physicians
- advanced practice nurses
- doctors of podiatric medicine
- physician assistants.
Any eligible provider looking to become a licensed QMP must complete a minimum of four hours of continuing education approved by the state. Providers must also submit an application and pay the appropriate fee. Thereafter, licensed QMPs must renew every two years.
Face-To-Face Evaluations Are Required
In terms of helping patients get their medical cannabis cards, QMPs are required to conduct at least one face-to-face visit. That visit is usually the first visit designed to figure out whether the patient suffers from a qualifying condition. Subsequent renewal visits can be conducted via telemedicine.
As inconvenient as a face-to-face visit might seem, it is actually for the better. There are certain parts of the QMP’s medical evaluation that just cannot be completed via telemedicine. An in-person consultation is the only way for the QMP to get a truly clear picture of the patient’s health and current level of care.
During the Initial Evaluation
A QMP’s role in recommending medical cannabis becomes apparent during that initial evaluation. State law requires QMPs to do a number of things, including completing a full review of the patient’s medical history along with an assessment of the patient’s current condition. Both history and current condition must be evaluated in light of appropriate standards of care. Moreover, all of this has to be documented.
The QMP must also:
- verify the patient’s identity by way of a state-approved form of ID.
- review any record of the patient that may exist in the state’s controlled substances database.
- consider medical cannabis recommendations in light of past or current controlled substance use.
- complete and submit an electronic certificate through the EVS.
As you can see, a QMP must follow an established set of rules in order to recommend medical cannabis. The rules are designed to protect both the QMP and the patient. In essence, the QMPs role is to be the gatekeeper between patient and Health Department.
Finding a QMP near You
Not all medical professionals eligible to become QMPs are willing to do so. So while there may be a sufficient number in Salt Lake City and Brigham City to meet patient needs, there are not enough QMPs to cover the entire state. Depending on where you live then, you may have to drive some distance to visit with one.
Note that the state maintains a database of currently registered QMPs. You can pop on to their website to get that list. Also note that your QMP does not have to be the same as your primary care physician. A QMP only has to follow the law to help you get your card.