Med. marijuana patients must wait 6 months to reapply if applications found to be "fraudulent"

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Update below: Our William Breathes has been closely following the fate of approximately 4,000 medical marijuana applications put on hold by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, reportedly over concerns that physician assistants, not doctors, conducted examinations. The CDPHE is now confirming this fact. And the kicker? Patients whose applications are denied for this reason must wait six months to reapply.

This delay will undoubtedly anger many patients who've already been waiting for months to get their red card renewed -- and all because a number of doctors are accused of failing to conduct examinations themselves, thereby rendering their recommendations "fraudulent."

The agency's rationale for this conclusion? As explained in a release on view below, Amendment 20, which legalized MMJ in Colorado, calls for examinations by physicians, and SB 109, passed by the state legislature last year, requires a bona fide doctor-patient relationship, as opposed to one in which docs merely sign a recommendation for a fee and provide no opportunity for followup care.

But even if one accepts the argument that such applications should be denied, why must patients be forced to wait six months to reapply? Does the CDPHE believe they colluded with the doctors to scam the agency, and therefore deserve to be punished in some way? If so, what evidence does it have to support this contention? If not, why make patients who have tried to follow the rules in order to obtain medication to treat their ailments go without for half a year?

When asked these questions, CDPHE spokesman Mark Salley deferred to Dr. Chris Urbina, executive director and chief medical officer at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, who is not available for comment at this writing. Once we're able to connect with him, we'll update this post.

Update, 4:15 p.m. December 12: Still haven't been able to connect with Dr. Urbina on this topic. However, CDPHE spokesman Mark Salley reached out to answer one of the rhetorical questions posed above: "But even if one accepts the argument that such applications should be denied, why must patients be forced to wait six months to reapply?" He points out specific language in Amendment 20, which legalized medical marijuana in Colorado. It reads:

0-4-287 -- ARTICLE XVIII -- Miscellaneous Art. XVIII -- Miscellaneous

Section 14. Medical use of marijuana for persons suffering from debilitating medical conditions. (1) As used in this section, these terms are defined as follows:

(e) A patient whose application has been denied by the state health agency may not reapply during the six months following the date of the denial.

In other words, the six-month delay is constitutionally mandated if an application is denied, at least as the CDPHE interprets it. We hope to follow up on this question and others in the near future. In the meantime, here's the CDPHE release issued last week.

Potentially fraudulent forms delay approval of medical marijuana applications

DENVER -- Following notification by law enforcement agencies of potentially fraudulent physician certification forms, the Medical Marijuana Registry at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment began holding registry applications from certain identified physicians for further verification. Approximately 2,600 applications received between Sept. 5 and Oct. 14 initially were delayed, followed by another approximately 1,600 applications received between Oct. 15 and Dec. 5.

Law enforcement representatives had been present in two locations where applicants were being seen by someone other than a physician. Applications received by the department were consistent with this information.

The amendment to the Colorado Constitution passed by the voters in 2000, which established the registry, allows only physicians to evaluate patients for the purpose of diagnosing a debilitating medical condition and recommending medical marijuana. Additionally, legislation passed in 2010 provided further clarifying language about what constitutes a bona fide patient-physician relationship for purposes of the registry. The 2010 language established that the patient-physician relationship must include a personal physical examination, recordkeeping and an offer of follow up appointments with the physician. Consequently, an applicant who sees a non-physician does not meet the legal requirements of the registry.

Due to concerns about potential fraud, registry officials contacted the physicians whose names and signatures appeared on the registry certification forms for applicants who were believed to have been seen by someone other than the physician. The physicians were asked to verify whether or not they had seen specific patients and had signed their certification forms.

For the initial group of 2,600, the department has received responses from the identified physicians and reviewed all of the relevant information -- and based on that information will notify applicants whether their applications were accepted, denied or rejected. Denials of applications will be issued when the totality of the information indicates the physician did not see the patient. If it is unclear if the physician or some other individual saw the applicant, the application will be rejected. Applicants in the original group of 2,600 applications should receive notification from the registry by Dec. 23.

Denied applicants must wait six months from the date of denial before reapplying for the registry. Rejected applicants can resubmit a new application without delay and without the additional application processing fee of $90 through December 29, 2011 or $35 effective December 30, 2011.

The remaining 1,600 delayed applications received between Oct. 14 and Dec. 5 should complete the verification process around the first of the year, with notification of application status to those patients by the end of January.

Dr. Chris Urbina, executive director and chief medical officer at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, said, "We recognize many applicants have been impacted by the extended verification process, but the investigation was necessary to maintain the integrity of the Medical Marijuana Registry. The enabling legislation requires physicians to verify a patient has one of the qualifying debilitating medical conditions to receive medical marijuana -- and the legislation also requires personal, physical medical exams. The department has the responsibility to deny applications that don't meet those criteria."

Urbina further commented, "The exposure of this fraud should lead marijuana registry applicants to take care to ensure that they are seen and examined by a physician if they intend to apply to the medical marijuana registry."

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More from our Marijuana archive: "Marijuana: 2 guvs petition feds to reclassify pot, but John Hickenlooper not ready to do so -- yet."

My Voice Nation Help
75 comments
They're Coming...
They're Coming...

Good news... Several of the patients who were seen by welldocs who were waiting got their red cards in the mail today.  Thought I'd share the news... 

Nate505
Nate505

Yeah, a friend I know also got a rejection, and he as well was seen by Dr. Sujdak.  But his rejection was the type that didn't require him to wait 6 months.  He can go to a doctor and get it done again, though since the WellDocs place seems to be out of business (don't know for sure) I'm guessing he'll have to go to another doctor, pay another fee.  It wasn't clear on if the CDPHE would accept it from a different doctor, though it said nothing about it needing to be from the same doc.

sadhu
sadhu

Nate, yes I have to get another Dr rec and put that money out and wait again for it to be mailed, who knows what the next hold up is going to be...

I saw well docs late sept and have been dealing with the idiot zombies ate the rewgistry putting me off over and over and now this..fuck these asshole hicks

here is a really good case for an attorney with some balls

RALPH
RALPH

SmileHigh ,YOU CAN SEE DR SUJDAK ALL WEEK AT 'ROCKY MOUNTAIN  PATIENTSERVICES ABOVE VIP DISPENSARY CORNER OF ALAMEDA & FEDERAL. HE IS RE SIGNING FOR EVERYONE PLUS THEY GIVE FREE NOTARY.

SmileHigh
SmileHigh

Yeah I saw WellDocs signed by Dr. Sujdak (but I never saw him) this was Sept 2nd.Dec 23rd got my rejection letter from CDPHE saying I need to have either MD or DO signature so I gotta go see a new Dr to sign my physician certification...I understand all the frustration but honestly it is Dr. Sujdak and WellDocs that screwed all the patients and walked off with $60 a head for no services rendered when they knew that the laws had changed and the state required an MD signature alone.But since WellDocs is long gone all we can do is find this Dr. Sujdak and demand he resign all of our docs properly with no charge like that is ever going to happen...

I swear smoking weed was so much easier before the state decided to come in and regulate the industry F$%^ing Gov...

sadhu
sadhu

sorry for the spelling, I'm kind pissed off

GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR

sadhu
sadhu

it has started, got my rejection on friday seen by welldocs Dr Sujdak and a bitch NP..

I was in the first batch and many more got bad news over the Holidays as well...there will be a lot of angry people speaking out this week I hope!

FUCK   CDPHE FUCK THESE SLIMBALL DOCTORS WHO WANT TO MAKE A MILLION AS QUICKLY AS POSSIBLE AND VANISHIan ur a jerk sticking up for these slimballs @ CDPHE

guest
guest

So has anyone received a rejected or denied app yet? (From the first batch of apps that were withheld)  Or are they (CDPHE) going to keeping pushing the date further into December or maybe even January?

Ian Williams
Ian Williams

Wow man, this is what a journalistic brush fire looks like. One simple miscommunication, or lack of clarification as the case is and look...the entire industry demonizes one of the only allies it has.

Silly hyperbolists...

Can we blame CDPHE for lack of proper PR and communication? Yes. Can we blame them for things that haven't happened? Sure, but it makes you all look silly...

Nate505
Nate505

After reading the interview with the good Doctor who runs the CDPHE the old adage "with friends, er allies, like this, who needs enemies" applies.

Moshimoshi
Moshimoshi

I see you work at Verde, Ian. I will make a point of NEVER visiting or recommending your MMC to any CO MMJ patient. Nice work. Your employer should be proud of you.

 

Nate505
Nate505

Is it just lack of communication?  It sounds like they are willing to deny 4,000+ people for a practice (allowing PAs to sign off on the recommendations) they accepted for over a year.  Whether that's their legal right is one thing, but ethically it seems bizarre to accept that practice and then pull the rug underneeth the people who followed it on a whim.

Robert Chase
Robert Chase

Wow, you sure don't know much about the CDPHE's fight against the Constitution over the past three years!

MMJ Timmy Top
MMJ Timmy Top

Under state law, MMJ patients must have a doctor's exam and recommendation, with follow-up care offered. It is not law that patients have to register with the state, and get a Colorado MMJ red card. These cards are just designed to make court cases better for the patient, as registered proof of the doctor's recommendation is on file. So to any patients who read this, in pain and an innocent bystander, if you indeed have abided by our state laws by having a legitimate doctor exam and recommendation, don't let these six plus months keep you from medicating and helping whatever you have it recommended for. You can't buy from Denver dispensaries without your red card. you can, however, go to your local MMJ caregiver and get medicine from them, legally.

0josh0
0josh0

Where are these people supposed to find a caregiver with actual quality and that is not in it for the money? 

Monkey
Monkey

Good question? I would love to see some centers inspect the quality of local caregivers and give referrals to patients that use to be able to shop but now can't. It would show they really care about their customers.

Pete
Pete

I don't believe that getting high should be a crime for anyone.  Not even you, Lance.

Moshimoshi
Moshimoshi

You. Are. A. Fucking. Moron.

THC ALWAYS has psychoactive side effects. ALTERNATE cannabinoids have been synthesized but THC always gets you high.   You have no clue -- none, zip, zero -- what the fuck you are talking about. You are ignorant and full of anger at an idea you do not understand.

Robert Chase
Robert Chase

You are a wilfully ignorant ideologue.  The (different) psychoactive effects of delta-8- and delta-9- THC are each of medical utility, but there are a large number of other biologically active cannabinoids of great interest in medicine.  Cannabidiol is anti-spasmodic, but it also induces apoptosis in some cancers, and shows great promise in oncology.  The body's endocannabinoid system is not a tool of the Devil, but an integral part of our make-up.  Colorado's medical establishment has demonstrated itself scientifically incurious and actively disinterested in this important medicine, but science and medicine proceed without them.

Colorado's doctors should learn about the therapeutic uses of cannabis, but the central issue with respect to cannabis and other euphoriants is whether we should criminalize their use.  The nation that styles itself "the land of the free" now imprisons more people than any other on Earth, and the war against individual freedom is the cause.  The dominant ideology in the US as a whole is fascism (your ideology) and hopes for employment in many places in Colorado rest on attracting corporate prisons.  It is none of your business or the State's whether an adult chooses to use cannabis -- anyone who believes otherwise, whether a member of the Supreme Court, a county sheriff, or an ignorant ranter like yourself is a traitor and an enemy combatant against our People and Constitution.

Nate505
Nate505

Wow.  You.  Sure.  Like.  Using.  The.  Period.  Punctuation.  Mark.

FYL
FYL

FAIL

High Country Caregiver
High Country Caregiver

The way things are unraveling, the entire Marijuana Registry is a giant fraud.  That being said, the CDPHE has nothing to do with marijuana.  There is plenty of weed for anyone who wants it in Colorado, cheap and good, without any stupid $90 card.  Free you minds people, the CDPHE and all the whining on here is just in your head.  You don't need any of this to get quality meds in Colorado.  Leave it all behind, it will only weigh you down.  Save your doctor money and go buy some herb from a quality caregiver.

Guest
Guest

I'll gladly pay the $90, soon to be $35 for medical marijuana insurance from the state. The money and hassle are worth the piece of mind that I don't have to go to court or get harrassed by police if I'm within the law. The CDPHE may be trying to discourage participation in the medical marijuana program but that won't stop me from registering. Using medical marijuana for a medical condition while in possession of a medical marijuana card is as legal as it gets in the usa.

Robert Chase
Robert Chase

Urbina and the CDPHE imagine that they act with impunity -- prove them wrong (again)!

Sue Urbina and the Department for any or all of their nonfeasance, misfeasance, and malfeasance against Article XVIII, Section 14 of the Constitution.

Their contempt for cannabis as medicine is itself an objective demonstration of their medical incompetence, but it also constitutes the motivation for their failue to abide by the Law.

The Department of Health is not serving the public health but hindering it, in this matter and in others.  Medical cannabis patients who can afford to do so should seriously consider standing up for their own rights and those of all other patients by getting the courts to force the Department to honor its responsibilities and successfully undertake and discharge its duties under Article XVIII, Section 14 of our Constitution -- sue the bastards!

Jake Browne
Jake Browne

Surprised that Mark Salley has access to the text of Amendment 20. Once again, he conveniently leaves out the full section:

"(e) A patient whose application has been denied by the state health agency may not reapply during the six months following the date of the denial and may not use an application for a registry identification card as provided in paragraph (3) (d) of this section. The denial of a registry identification card shall be considered a final agency action. Only the patient whose application has been denied shall have standing to contest the agency action. "

Why does Mark Salley keep deceiving patients?Source: Their own website.

Caring4ms
Caring4ms

It is unfortunate that applications of patients with legitimate medical needs are delayed and perhaps denied.  However, this is necessitated by the floods of applications by mj users who have no legitimate medical need, but have secured a script.  This is not hard to get from a physician or PA if you know where to go.  It's obvious by the sheer numbers of applications and dispensaries, that many of these are not medically needed.  This attempt by the CDPHE may not be viewed as fair or effective, but they have to do something.  BTW, this is not coming from someone who is against medical use of mj.  I am a caretaker for someone with MS and have seen MS patients benefit from mj use.  I am against anybody and everybody being able to receive a script for it from unscrupulous drs.  So, those of you with legitimate medical needs whose applications have been denied or delayed, blame those who don't "need"  mj licenses not the CDPHE.  They have been absolutely swamped by applications since the laws were passed.

Jake Browne
Jake Browne

The CDPHE made millions of dollars off of patients that they themselves admit they didn't need. Please don't make excuses for them. They've proved time and time again they're willing to interpret our state's MMJ laws as narrowly as possible. 

The pain they're causing people falls squarely on their shoulders.

High Country Caregiver
High Country Caregiver

They didn't make millions, dumb ass patients like myself just gave it to them. 

Mike
Mike

I just got my Ocycontin, and Oxycodone renewed by a PAYou couldn't kill a person with Marijuana unless you dropped a hundred pound bale of it on em. Conversely Oxy anything is one of the most deadly drugs on the planet.

Guest
Guest

this is akin to countries that punish victims of rape. if there was fraud, it was performed by the doctors. The department of health KNEW ALL ALONG that these doctors were using PAs and was approving cards for a LONG TIME based on these recs.

James
James

Physician's assistants acting as doctors is not fraud. That's what they f'ing do for Christ's sake. This is all a bunch of obnoxious BS.

Giannia
Giannia

Mine is in the first group that was held up.  I knew better than to send in something that wasn't signed by a doctor.  I talked to the doc, he signed my form.  But since some of the ones sent in by him were done by a PA, all of his are being reviewed.  Plus, the doc was interviewed in the CSIndy, and cited Colorado law that supports his right to have a PA do routine things under his instruction, "that constitute the practice of medicine."

Theswisherking
Theswisherking

OMG... Who appointed these decision makers? They are so out of touch and react without reason. This is completely outrageous! Punish the doctors not the patients who were led to believe using a PA was an acceptable practice.

Rev. B Baker
Rev. B Baker

rev. brandonbaker

greenfaith ministry

307-221-2180

Rev.420@greenfaithministry.com

P.O. BOX 024, Nunn CO, 80648

December  2011

Medical MarijuanaRegistry

ATTN DIRECTOR/FOR APPEAL OFDENIAL/REJECTION

4300 Cherry Creek Drive South

Denver, CO 80246-1530  

 medical.marijuana@state.co.us303-692-2184

 www.cdphe.state.co.us/hs/medic...

WRITTEN NOTICE OF APPEAL ON DENIAL OR REJECTION (PURSUANT TO SUB. SEC. J)

Dear Ma'am or Sir,

This is my written notification to you and this department, stating Idisagree with the denial/rejection of my redcard and thereby request a reviewand hearing where I can assert that the issues or facts of fraud or reason fordenial lay squarely on the Drs and the Health Dpt; I am free of any wrong doingor illegalities; that I have the ailments that give me the right to a redcard;and that I was a victim of the fraud or wrong doing and in no way am I relatedor connected to the fraudulent or wrong activities and have qualifying ailmentsthat are documented by a multitude of legally qualifying Drs wherefore Ishouldn't and cant be punished in anyway especially like this by denying memultiple constitutional rights, like due process, the right to confront my accuser,Et cetera. Therefore removing any fault or liability on me the patient due tofraud and wrong doing by a professional Service and the State's HealthDepartment, the fault also lands on the state and dr. for allowing andpermitting the professionals to commit fraud and harm at the harm and expenseof the debilitated or sick citizens in the state of Colorado.

Sincerely,

Name______________________

Address___________________________

REDCARD #_________________

PHONE #___________________

(print with pen)

SIGNATURE_________________________

Rev. B Baker
Rev. B Baker

MY DRAFTED APPEAL LETTER

rev. brandon baker

greenfaithministry

307-221-2180

Rev.420@greenfaithministry.com

P.O. BOX 024

Nunn CO, 80648

Dec.___ 2011

Medical Marijuana RegistryATTN DIRECTOR/FOR APPEAL OF DENIAL/REJECTION4300 Cherry Creek Drive SouthDenver, CO 80246-1530   medical.marijuana@state.co.us 303-692-2184 www.cdphe.state.co.us/hs/medic... WRITTEN NOTICE OF APPEAL ON DENIAL OR REJECTION (PURSUANT TO SUB. SEC. J) Dear Ma'am or Sir, This is my written notification to you and this department, stating I disagree with the denial/rejection of my redcard and thereby request a review and hearing where I can assert that the issues or facts of fraud or reason for denial lay squarely on the Drs and the Health Dpt; I am free of any wrong doing or illegalities; that I have the ailments that give me the right to a redcard; and that I was a victim of the fraud or wrong doing and in no way am I related or connected to the fraudulent or wrong activities and have qualifying ailments that are documented by a multitude of legally qualifying Drs wherefore I shouldn't and cant be punished in anyway especially like this by denying me multiple constitutional rights, like due process, the right to confront my accuser, Et cetera. Therefore removing any fault or liability on me the patient due to fraud and wrong doing by a professional Service and the State's Health Department, the fault also lands on the state and dr. for allowing and permitting the professionals to commit fraud and harm at the harm and expense of the debilitated or sick citizens in the state of Colorado. Sincerely,Name______________________Address___________________________REDCARD #_________________PHONE #___________________(print with pen)SIGNATURE_________________________

Rev. B Baker
Rev. B Baker

SCREW you all, the shady drs and the CDPHE i am gonna sue both your asses when im done with the AG's office, You ignorant, crooked and corrupt govt officials and Drs better get on board or get the Hell out of our govt and oversight, because WE ALL ARE MAD AS HELL AND AINT GONNA TAKE IT NO MORE!!!!Ini went to well docs, to renew for my sixth time (used my same family dr for the last six yrs), and only because they were a 100$ cheaper, if i have to wait six months, i will see all you crapbags in court!good day and good riddance from us all at greenfaith Ministry!

J. Appeals. If the department denies an application or, suspends or, revokes a registry identification card, the department shall provide the applicant/patient with notice of the grounds for the denial, suspension, or revocation and shall inform the patient of the patient’s right to request a hearing.1. A request for hearing shall be submitted to the department in writing within thirty (30) calendar days from the date of the postmark on the notice.a. If a hearing is requested, the patient shall file an answer within thirty (30) calendar days from the date of the postmark on the notice.b. If a request for a hearing is made, the hearing shall be conducted in accordance with the state Administrative Procedures Act, § 24-4-101 et seq. , C.R.S.c. If the patient does not request a hearing in writing within thirty (30) calendar days from the date of the notice, the patient is deemed to have waived the opportunity for a hearing.

ZingMoo
ZingMoo

Sounds like a pretty good plan to me dude, I mean like seriously.ano-vpn.tk

Wolf Von Kath
Wolf Von Kath

just legalize it already no deaths from use. promotes brain cell growth. cures cancer. not addictive. provides no $$ to the 1%. hundreds of not thousands of medical benefits from use.

Michelle LaMay
Michelle LaMay

Support the Relief for Possession of Cannabis Act of 2012. Its for all Coloradoans, even those patients whose red cards are in dispute and are left hanging in a legal limbo. The CO Department of Education is literally waist-deep in applications and renewals but school districts allow people to teach while their licenses are pending, or they wouldn't have any teachers. Are the medical mj business owners suffering financially? Shouldn't they step up and hire an attorney to go to bat for Colorado patients instead of poor and disabled patients having to deal individually with an appeal? Michelle LaMay303-886-7998 AUTHOR: http://www.relief4possession.w... 

Waiting
Waiting

What I find interesting is this: " If it is unclear if the physician or some other individual saw the applicant, the application will be rejected. " 

So basically, if the doctor says "I don't remember if it was me or the PA that saw this person..." then they will not be denied, they will be "rejected" and are able to resend in their paperwork (probably with another recommendation from the doctor that they were supposed to see).  

I can see this becoming a lawsuit against not only the CDPHE but also the doctors' offices involved in the mess... People have been considering what to do with the over $8 million sitting in the CDPHE MMJ fund -- it will probably be going to settling that.

James
James

Many people, including myself, receive primary medical care from a PA, not an MD, because there is a shortage of internists. As far as I know, there's nothing and MD can do that a PA can't.  In theory, my PA has a supervising MD, but I've never met that person and he or she has never treated me. Denying these applications on that basis is asinine and violates the intent of the law if not the letter.  Either they are too stupid to understand what a PA does, or they're just being a-holes.

Robert Chase
Robert Chase

Incompetence should always be considered first when trying to understand the behavior of Colorado officials, but in this instance we know that the CDPHE had processed and approved any number of applications signed by a physician's assistant (clearly identified as such) before deciding suddenly to object.  The fraud being perpetrated with regard to patients' applications is that of Urbina and his cronies at the Department paying lip service to Article XVIII, Section 14 while disregarding its requirements and denying patients access to medicine.  People who are disinterested in the issues surrounding medical cannabis had better hope that the other business of the Department is being conducted legally and competently, but after what we have seen out of it over the past three years, I halfway expect the Black Death to sweep across the State killing millions.

High Country Caregiver
High Country Caregiver

Nobody goes into the government, especially the secretarial type CDPHE crap because they want to make a difference.  What planet are you from?  Working for the government is for those who want a cake walk job, they could give a crap less about the point of their job or even read the paperwork they're paid to go through.  It's brainless bullshit and none of the CDPHE people are responsible for anything, worst they'll ever be accused of is same as us on a here, a 'typo'.

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