On August 12, 2019, changes to the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Program became effective. The Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Program Act allows Advance Practice Registered Nurse-Full Practice Authority (APRN-FPA), Advance Practice Nurses (APN) and Physician Assistants (PA) to complete a certification for a debilitating medical condition for qualifying patients. APRN-FPAs, APNs and PAs may complete certifications for qualifying Medical Cannabis Patient Program (MCPP) and Opioid Alternative Pilot Program (OAPP) patients effective September 30, 2019.
What is the process for completing a written Health Care Professional certification?
All qualifying patients who apply for a medical cannabis registry identification card must have their debilitating medical condition certified by a certifying health care professional (advance practice registered nurse-full practice authority, advanced practice nurse, physician assistant, or doctor of medicine (MD) or doctor of osteopathic medicine (DO)) once every three years or if their medical cannabis registry identification card expires. A health care professional who submits a certification and answers “yes” the condition is lifelong will no longer need to submit another certification for this patient in the future. The certifying health care professional must:
- Have a bona-fide Health Care Professional-patient relationship with the qualifying patient. The bona-fide Health Care Professional-patient relationship may not be limited to issuing a written certification for the patient or a consultation simply for that purpose.
- Have responsibility for the ongoing care and treatment of the qualifying patient's debilitating condition, provided that the ongoing treatment and care shall not be limited to or for the primary purpose of certifying a debilitating medical condition or providing a consultation solely for that purpose.
- Complete an in-person full assessment of the patient's medical history and current medical condition, including a personal physical examination prior to completing the on-line Health Care Professional certification.
- Certify that the qualifying patient is under the Health Care Professional's care, either for the qualifying patient's primary care or for his or her debilitating medical condition or symptoms of a debilitating medical condition.
Note – For patient application purposes, the Health Care Professional Certification is valid for 90 days from the date of the in-person medical examination. Certifying health care professionals may request follow-up visits with the patients as part of the ongoing care and treatment for the patient’s debilitating medical conditions. Failure to comply may result in having the medical cannabis registry identification card revoked by the health care professional.
How do I submit a Health Care Professional certification for a qualifying patient?
The Health Care Professional must complete the Health Care Professional written certification on-line.
Instructions on how to complete and manage certifications:
Does the Health Care Professional provide the qualifying patient with a prescription specifying the dosage appropriate for medical cannabis use?
No. The Health Care Professional on-line certification does not constitute a prescription for medical cannabis.
How much medical cannabis can a registered qualifying patient purchase?
A registered qualifying patient may purchase up to 2.5 ounces of medical cannabis during a 14-day period. This amount of medical cannabis, called the “adequate supply,” is defined in Section 10 of the Act. Purchases of medical cannabis can only be made at a licensed medical cannabis dispensary.
Can registered qualifying patients obtain an increase in their adequate supply?
The registered patient’s Health Care Professional may submit a waiver on-line to increase the allotment of medical cannabis on-line. The health care professional on-line statement asserts that in the Health Care Professional’s professional judgement, 2.5 ounces is an insufficient adequate supply to properly alleviate the patient’s debilitating medical condition or symptoms associated with the patient’s debilitating medical condition. If the Department approves the waiver, the amount of medical cannabis recommended by the Health Care Professional shall be noted on the registry identification E-card. Instructions to create a waiver amending adequate supply can be found here.
Can the Health Care Professional revoke or rescind the written certification for a registered qualifying patient?
On August 28, 2018, Public Act 100-1114 was signed into law. This act states that the certifying health care professional can revoke a patient’s registry card for the following reasons:
- If the Health Care Professional has reason to believe either that the registered qualifying patient has ceased to suffer from a debilitating medical condition;
- That the bona fide Health Care Professional-patient relationship has terminated; or
- That continued use of medical cannabis would result in contraindication with the patient's other medication.
Can a Health Care Professional charge for a Health Care Professional written certification?
Qualifying patients do not need to pay a special fee to their Health Care Professional for the Health Care Professional written certification. The Health Care Professional may accept payment for the fee associated with the personal physical examination required prior to issuing the certification.
Does IDPH provide a list of medical providers who will certify patients for the medical cannabis program?
No. In order for a Health Care Professional to certify a qualifying patient for medical cannabis, there must be a bona fide Health Care Professional-patient relationship. Qualifying patients should begin the application process by having a discussion with the Health Care Professionals who treat their debilitating conditions and their primary care provider. IDPH will not maintain or publish a list of practitioners who issue Health Care Professional certifications.