The protection you get from your card depends on the bonafide relationship with your doctor.

 By Attorney Michael Komorn

It is important to understand that one of the reasons a patient gets a card in the first place is to be able to defend their medical use of cannabis, behavior that but for medical necessity would be illegal. A patient gets a card so that if necessary, a doctor can provide testimony in court as to the patients serious or debilitating condition. A doctor during the course of treatment and over time should be able to identify the efficacy of the medical use of cannabis, and in order to do this effectively, the doctor must be able to interact with the patient throughout the certification period. A doctor who interacts regularly throughout the certification period, will be able to better justify and defend the decision to recommend medical cannabis for the patient. This will result in better outcomes for patients in courts…

My advice is simple:

1. A patient should update the certifying physician monthly with information related to the efficacy of the medical use of cannabis (see follow up form). 2. A patient should plan to follow up with at least two office visits with the certifying physician after being certified in the first year, and again see the doctor at least two times in the second year, while continuing to update the doctor with the monthly follow up forms.

If your certifying doctor is not discussing a protocol similar to the one mentioned here, you should get a new doctor. Patients need to take more responsibility for their medical chart, but more importantly understand that the medical chart is what will be scrutinized most.

In conclusion I have seen, observed and been part of many medical marihuana cases that have been litigated in Michigan.

I have witnessed first hand where patients are deprived the basic rights to defend their medical use of cannabis, because of ineffective physician certifications. The above protocol and procedures are being recommended from the perspective of seeing how the current standard used for certifying patients is not working as it should, and must stop immediately. Following the suggested protocol will eliminate potential weaknesses and flaws should you need to defend your medical use of cannabis.

 

Dr. Bob’s comment:

Michael hits on something that I’ve been stressing for years- your certification only protects you as much as the doctor can back it.  For too long we had ‘stand in line, we will sign’ certification mills.  We still have some of these same mills offering to renew your card through the mail with no doctor visit.  These types of physicians cannot protect you even with a card.  As Michael says, follow up is key to protection.

At Denali we have 8 offices that stand willing and ready to do your follow up.  We have over 20 outreach clinics where you can follow up with your doctor.  I attend all these sites personally, maintain a significant web presence, and operate a help line 6 days a week (989-339-4464).  You are safe with a certification from Denali Healthcare.

We offer free follow up visits right on the website and in our newsletter…  

Make it a Point to do a follow up with Dr. Townsend every 2-3 months for the duration of your card.