MARTINSBURG — Aimed at combating the opioid epidemic, Green Health Docs, a nationwide medical cannabis evaluation clinic, prepares to open its first Martinsburg office Tuesday, with a patient log already filled for opening day.
According Nicole Mongelli, Green Health Docs operations manager, the organization began in 2017 with a single clinic in Frederick, Maryland, and has grown to five clinics in Maryland, five in Missouri, two in Utah and its first clinic in West Virginia, which opened in Huntington in August of this year.
In addition to the upcoming Martinsburg opening, Mongelli said Green Health Docs will be opening its third Mountain State clinic in Morgantown on Jan. 7, followed by their Charleston office by the end of that same month.
According to Mongelli, these West Virginia offices have been a longtime coming.
“We are so excited to finally be in West Virginia,” Mongelli said.
Mongelli said with the company’s “large presence” in bordering states, the group found themselves having to turn away West Virginia patient after patient, as medical cannabis had not yet been legalized in the state.
“We have an abundance of West Virginia patients who try to cross state lines and work with us, but we can’t do that… we’ve been turning away hundreds and hundreds of West Virginia people since 2017, so as soon as the state legalized the use of medical cannabis, we knew we needed to go there immediately. It just made sense.”
According to Mongelli, the need in the Eastern Panhandle is clear as the group already has 25 patient appointments scheduled for its first day open and half of that for its next operating day a week later.
Though the state patient registry has not yet opened, Mongelli said the group decided to begin the patient intakes early in hopes of streamlining the process for whenever the registry does officially open.
“Since the state registry in West Virginia is not open yet… that is one of the pieces that will needed to be completed before becoming a full-on patient,” Mongelli said. “The state’s medical cannabis program leadership said they project it will be fully open in March or April of 2021, so until then, patients can be seen through pre-registration. With our experience, once that registry opens, it’s a bombardment, so we are working to get some of the process out of the way for the patients before it opens to streamline the process for everyone.”
The state registry for medical providers has already opened and has had over 100 physicians sign up, Mongelli said, so she is hopeful for a successful program in the state as more details are shared.
“Our mission is to get as many people off of prescription opiates as possible. Many people are living with chronic pain, debilitating conditions and terminal illnesses, and we want to spread the word of a more holistic treatment,” Mongelli said. “We are well aware of the controversy around this subject, so we remain hopeful and humble. We are well aware the opiates are just masking the problem. There is a much cleaner holistic approach, and it is out here and ready for these people in need.”
The new Green Health Docs center will operate on a one-day-a-week basis out of its 126 E. Burke St. office space inside of the Hub Suites building in downtown Martinsburg.
Hours of operation will be Tuesdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. by appointment.
For more information, visit greenhealthdocs.com.