Our Vital Health Statistics team along with our partners at the UA College of Public Health completed the 1st Annual Report for the Arizona Medical Marijuana Program this week. You’ll find a wide range of information in the report including data about the demographics and kinds and qualifying conditions of our cardholders, geographic distribution and rates as well as background information on the budget and fund, the various lawsuits, and de-identified information about physicians that are writing certifications.
Perhaps the most striking thing in the report is that 24 doctors have signed about 80% of the 30,000 or so certifications in Year 1… and a handful of doctors wrote more than 1,000 certifications. That doesn’t necessarily mean that these doc’s aren’t acting in the best interests of their patients- but it does give us some insight into which ones we should be focusing on to ensure that they’re meeting our certification expectations. The report goes into more detail if you’re interested.
Dr. Cara Christ (our Agency Medical Director) did some outreach this week with the Executive Directors of the 4 medical licensing boards to brainstorm about what we can do as a system to ensure that doctors are truly acting in their patient’s best interests, complying with each licensing board’s expectations, and meeting our standards for certifications. We’re also looking into doing some more intensive medical education among high frequency certifiers and have signed a contract with the AZ State Board of Pharmacy to help us with surveillance among the certifying physicians. You can see some of the recommendations at the end of the report.
Of course… the info in the Annual Report is just a sub-set of all of the data we have about the program… and you can see the full array of data and information including our summary monthly reports on our hub website.