Back in April, I wrote the following:
"Did you know that of the 24 states with medical marijuana laws, most have either explicit or implicit provisions allowing for commercial payers to avoid reimbursement for medical marijuana?
Did you know that most of these states have a list of allowable conditions that provide a second layer of potential protection for commercial payers?
Did you know that most of these states have medical treatment guidelines that address the use of medical marijuana?
Did you know that the New Mexico cases that have most of our industry concerned about this issue exhibit systemic failure on the part of the payers in those cases to take advantage of these various provisions and protections?"
So let's all take a deep, cleansing breath. If we're smart about this - if states are thinking about evidence based guidelines and payer carve outs, if payers are thinking about UR and peer review, if doctors are thinking about what's best for patients - we can keep medical marijuana in the box in which it belongs. Mark Pew is right that the legalization of medical marijuana is inevitable and the advent of recreational marijuana is upon us. But the risk management issue should be in the areas of drug-free work place issues and on-the-job safety.
When it comes to injured worker treatment, we're not suggesting that medical marijuana is a non-event that deserves no attention. We're suggesting that smart payers with smart medical management strategies need not fear being overwhelmed with medical marijuana spend.
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