Premier Health Medical Marijuana Policy for Employees and Caregivers

Two years ago, Ohio became the 25th state to approve medical marijuana. Ohio’s Medical Marijuana Control Program went into effect September 8, 2018, but the availability of medical marijuana has been delayed. Still, it is anticipated that more and more patients will have access to medical marijuana soon – and that patients’ expectations around medical marijuana will begin to shift.

Given this reality, we would like all employees to be aware that Premier Health’s existing policies have not changed regarding the possession and use of marijuana (or being under the influence of marijuana) at work. In addition, Premier Health continues to prohibit the use of medical marijuana in inpatient settings. Physicians practicing in an outpatient setting who have obtained a certificate to recommend in accordance with Ohio law will be able to recommend the use of medical marijuana.

Like many other health care providers across the state, Premier Health is adopting this conservative approach initially for several reasons. While medical marijuana is legal in Ohio, its use – whether medicinal or recreational – is still prohibited under federal law. Allowing employees to use medical marijuana may contradict federal regulations Premier Health is required to follow as a recipient of Medicare payments.

In addition, Premier Health employees should be aware of the following:

  • Medical marijuana is not covered by medical insurance. It is not a prescription (and is obtained at a dispensary instead of at a pharmacy).
  • Impairment at work, of course, is not acceptable, especially in health care settings in which patient safety could become an issue. This would violate our company’s “Fitness for Duty” policy. Leave is available if needed.
  • Having marijuana on-site is not permitted, as it would violate Premier Health’s “Drug-Free Workplace” policy and runs counter to federal law.

We will continue to monitor and seek input – both internally and externally – regarding this matter as the health care policy landscape evolves. If you have any questions, please contact your immediate supervisor.

Medical Marijuana FAQ

What is Premier Health’s stance on allowing patients to take medical marijuana during their hospitalization?

Premier Health does not allow medical marijuana use in any form in the hospital setting.

What do I tell a patient who brings in medical marijuana and wants to continue using it?

Patients should be informed that Premier Health does not allow medical marijuana use in the hospital, and that their pain (or whatever symptoms they use it for) will be treated in other ways during their stay.

What is my responsibility with medical marijuana brought in by a patient with their home medications?

Medical marijuana brought into the hospital should be sent home with a family member or caregiver. If this is not possible, medical marijuana should be handled as an illegal substance and secured by campus police.

What happens if the patient refuses to send the substance home with family and they refuse to allow campus police to secure the substance?

Reinforce our policy. Reiterate that we must secure the medical marijuana and will return at discharge. If the patient refuses and wants to leave AMA, it is their right. Be sure to notify the doctor of the patient’s choice and have the patient sign AMA papers per our policy.

Do I need to worry about patients experiencing withdrawal symptoms from medical marijuana during their hospital stay?

Marijuana should not have any physical withdrawal symptoms other than the return of symptoms for which it was being used to treat.

What are primary drug interactions with medical marijuana that caregivers should be aware of?

Marijuana interacts with other sedatives (alcohol, opiates, benzos) and can have an additive effect. Marijuana itself is difficult to overdose on.

How will we document medical marijuana usage in Epic?

Home use of medical marijuana can be documented during medication reconciliation by adding ERx 72000420 cannabidiol extract oral oil to the home med list. An alt alert prevents this product from being ordered for an inpatient stay. It cannot be prescribed or e-prescribed.

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