Legally obtaining and using marijuana just got easier for patients of one Phoenix-area home-hospice service. Starting this month, Comprehensive Hospice and Palliative Care offers an in-house doctor who will recommend cannabis for patients who qualify under state law.
To avoid trouble with Medicare, which often pays the hospice's bills for patients, the hospice requires the patient or someone else to send the recommendation to the state Department of Health Services for final approval, and to pay the fees.
The hospice provides services such as medical care and counseling in the homes of terminally ill patients, most of whom are expected to live for six months or less. It has about 140 clients now.
"We fix it so people can enjoy their time while they're still here on the planet," says Charlotte Igo, the company's CEO.
About 10 percent of the patients enrolled immediately in the state program after obtaining a recommendation from one of the firm's three on-staff physicians, Margaret King. Another 10 percent say they're interested, Igo says.