Second medical marijuana clinic opens in North Port

Second medical marijuana clinic opens in North Port

NORTH PORT, FL

The man who helped start south Sarasota County’s first medical marijuana clinic opened a new clinic

NORTH PORT — The man who helped start south Sarasota County’s first medical marijuana clinic with an aggressive social media campaign that lined up more than 450 potential patients before Amendment 2 took effect has opened a new clinic in North Port.

Patrick DeLuca, 36, president of Medicann Clinic, 3151 Bobcat Village Center Road, said the business model for the clinic — which opened Jan. 14 — is designed to provide patients more time with Dr. Heidi Kunstman.

Kunstman will only see 14 patients in a seven-hour day, meaning she can spend as much as 30 minutes a session per patient.

“Our mission is to do this the right way, a responsible practice of medicine that puts the patient first,” DeLuca said.

Patient visits to medical marijuana clinics are not covered by insurance and doctors do not prescribe medical marijuana. Rather they examine patients, evaluate their health history and determine whether medical marijuana is an option.

Patients then must apply to the state for a medical marijuana card. The process includes an initial registration fee of $75 and an annual renewal fee of $75.

Until last July, DeLuca worked with Dr. Barry M. Gordon and helped launch the Compassionate Cannabis Care Clinic of Venice in January 2017. Amendment 2 took effect on Jan. 2, 2017

Currently, six people work at Medicann: DeLuca, Kunstman, a receptionist, patient educator, certified nursing assistant and an office administrator.

He called a medical cannabis practice 70 percent education and 30 percent medical examination.

“Cannabis puts the patient in direct control of their own treatment,” DeLuca said.

“Every patient has their own health goals,” he added. “What works for you might not work for me.”

Most of the patients DeLuca has seen walk into the clinic are age 50 and older, and seeking alternatives to established Western medicine.

Medicann is the second clinic offering referrals in North Port.

DeLuca noted that Medicann has a lower initial visit fee of $199 — but follow-up visits are the same price as the initial visit.

Kunstman, 47, spent more than 13 years as a pediatrician with Family Health Centers of Southwest Florida in LaBelle. She said she was attracted to both the pace of the practice as DeLuca described it to her and the change to spend more time with patients.

As a pediatrician, she was seeing between 30 and 40 patients a day and spending hours on paperwork.

“I wanted to have time to spend with a patient, instead of just running through with them and giving them two minutes,” said Kunstman, who lives with her husband in North Fort Myers and can also visit her father for lunch in El Jobean. “We’re going to be giving the best health care in this industry to the patients.”

“It’s been good,” she said of her first week open for business. “I’m interested to see on follow up how patients are doing after they get their medication.

“I’m looking forward to seeing their improvement.”

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