Aloha Governor Ige,
The Hawaii Patients Union are informing patient members of a new policy directive issued by the Department of Veterans Affairs, Veterans Health Administration that affects healthcare options for U.S. Veterans. Major changes in VHA DIRECTIVE 1315 include the addition of specific policies to support the Veteran-provider relationship when discussing the use of marijuana and its impact on health including Veteran-specific treatment plans.
The purpose of the VA directive is to provide policy regarding access to VHA clinical programs for Veterans participating in a State-approved marijuana program. The new VHA policy encourages VA doctors and pharmacists to discuss with the Veteran marijuana use, due to its clinical relevance to patient care, and discuss marijuana use with any Veterans requesting information about marijuana.
The new policy directs VHA providers and/or pharmacists to discuss with patients how their use of State-approved medical marijuana to treat medical or psychiatric symptoms or conditions may relate to the Veterans participation in other clinical activities. The new policy directive includes specific responsibilities for VISN and medical facility directors to raise awareness among Veterans for Cannabis treatments and to document such efforts in patients health records. Specifically, the Veterans Administration and Veterans must not be denied VHA services solely because they are participating in State-approved marijuana programs.
The Hawaii Patients Union are requesting that the State of Hawaii share and forward this information as required in section 4 of VHA directive 1315. We are grateful for the State of Hawaii’s respect and care for our Veterans.
Copies of the letter linked below have been emailed to Hawaii State Governor David Y. Ige and all Hawaii State Legislators. Please share with your networks.
- VHA Publications – https://www.va.gov/vhapublications/publications.cfm?pub=1
- NPR Article – https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2018/01/09/576577596/va-clears-the-air-on-doctors-talking-to-veterans-about-marijuana-use
- Victory for Veterans as VA Changes Policy on Medical Cannabis – http://www.safeaccessnow.org/victory_for_veterans_as_va_changes_policy_on_medical_cannabis