Ask the Doctor: Changing Recommending Doctors in Florida

QUESTION: I am already a Florida medical cannabis patient. How do I change my recommending doctor?

Answer:

A good doctor/patient relationship is critical, especially if you are new to cannabis. If you are a seasoned cannabis user and don’t have many questions, selecting a doctor may not be as important. But if you are a “newbie” you may have to rely on the doctor a little more heavily so the right choice is extremely important.

There are many reasons for wanting to change your recommending doctor

Location

It could be as simple as the doctor is inconveniently located and not close to your home. If you have been a medical cannabis patient for a while you may not have had much of a choice as to your doctor, but with more recommending doctors more options may be available.

Time

I often hear about doctors who don’t spend enough time with new patients (cannabis patients or otherwise). With so many people being added to the registry daily and a limited number of recommending doctors, you can see how this could lead to unfortunate time constraints. However, if a doctor is extremely busy, ask what other resources are available – from documentation about cannabis to other people in the office who can answer your questions. You should never, however, feel pushed away. If you do, it may be time to make the switch.

Comfort

Keep in mind that you and your doctor(s) (any and all of them) should be on your team to find the best ways to achieve your optimal health/wellness. If a doctor is condescending, talks down to you, or is simply rude (it does happen!) and it makes you uncomfortable, consider finding someone who is a little more compassionate.

Once you decide to change doctors and find a new one, how do you go about making it official?

When you became a Florida medical cannabis patient you were put on the Florida Medical Marijuana Use Registry. In the beginning of our medical cannabis program, in order to change doctors you would have to contact them and have them remove you. Then the new doctor could “pick you up” as a patient. As you can see, this led to an array pf problems with the most difficult being doctors who just stopped practicing – there was no way to get a hold of them to release the patient. Thankfully this has changed. Now you can go into your account on the registry site and “release” yourself from your current doctor. Then your new doctor will take you on as a new patient. All in all, it’s a very quick and simple process.

What's the cost associated with changing doctors?

So how much is it to change doctors? Typically it is between $40-$60. Keep in mind though, as to when you are going to make the change. You may not want to switch when you are at day 190 of the 210 (seven months) required before you have to renew. If this is the case, you may want to contact the doctor you wish to go with and confirm what their pricing is if you are switching doctors and renewing.

The cannabis journey can sometimes be a bit arduous, but having a good relationship with your doctor should not be one of the bumps in the road. Again, you and you doctor are a team with the sole mission of helping you feel the best you can. Be well.

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