We Are Here When You Need Us…

Like Lawyers, an Expert Witness is not a party to your case, they are professionals that are called in to help you mount a defense. We are here for you. At Denali Healthcare we stand behind every medical decision we make, including medical marijuana certification.  Our policies and procedures are designed to enable us to mount a defense for our patients if our treatment plans or decisions are brought into question, either directly or indirectly.

At Denali Healthcare, your defense begins with your Office Visit

We have specific policies for

  1. Chronic Pain Management
  2. Suboxone Therapy
  3. Medical Marijuana Certification

We review policies and procedures for our associated professional staff, but they are solely responsible for their actions

  1. Acupuncture
  2. Counseling
  3. Massage Therapy

The purpose of these policies and procedures is to make sure we have the tools we need to justify our decisions should they ever come into question.  In order to present a convincing case that your pain management, suboxone therapy or medical marijuana certification was done properly and to standard, we first must have a clear vision of what the standard is, and design policies and procedures to assure we ‘dot all the i’s and cross all the t’s’.

Types of Witnesses:

In court, there are two types of witnesses.  An Expert Witness brings with them specific expertise, states facts, and forms opinions.  A Witness of Fact is limited to stating facts without commentary.  If you have a tree down in your yard, a Witness of Fact can testify they were at your house on Wednesday and the tree was standing, but when they returned on Friday, the tree was down.  An expert witness can state they were called to your home after a wind storm on Thursday, the tree was down, and in their opinion, the tree was down due to the effects of the wind storm.

In a Section 8 Case you can require members of our Denali Staff to Testify as Witnesses.

If you require a Witness of Fact a staff member will appear to represent the practice and testify:

  • They printed your medical records and certification documents from our record system.
  • You appeared on the day of the appointment.
  • You were offered a follow up visit, or several.
  • The cost of a Witness of Fact is set by the court.

If you require a physician, they will ONLY appear as an expert witness to directly testify as to the facts and provide opinions if requested.

  • The facts of the visit as noted above.
  • The policies and procedures of the practice and offer an opinion as to how they played in YOUR case.
  • Their background, training and experience that allows them to qualify as an expert.
  • The recommended dosages of medical marijuana (an opinion).
  • The recommended type in general and amount of marijuana that is reasonable to treat your condition (an opinion).
  • Explain the rational behind the use of cannabis as medicine based on review of the literature and experience (an opinion)
  • The expert witness fee is NOT set by the court, it is set by the expert.  Failure to pay for the expert voids their requirement to appear in person, but a staff member may be sent as a witness of fact only.

The Role of the Expert Witness

  • Explain the policies and procedures of our treatment programs and evaluation process
  • Educate the Jury about the medications (including cannabis) involved in the case
  • Provide our experience, training and reputation to back our testimony
  • To work with your lawyers if needed to make sure they have a complete understanding of the subject in question so they can better plan your defense and question witnesses

Unless we are specifically named in a legal action as a defendant or plaintiff, our role is that of an EXPERT WITNESS in your case, and we charge for this service, have scheduling limits, and may have other fees and requirements that must be met in order to schedule a court appointment.

Our Fees and Scheduling Requirements

  1. Patients of our practice that are currently patients and were patients prior to the incident that resulted in the court case are entitle to their records associated with their care from Denali Healthcare as a free courtesy.  Our statement of the bonafide relationship is on the certification form, and our records speak for themselves and there is no reason to personally present them.
  2. We are contacted by the attorney and requested as an expert. Patients interested in having a Denali Physician review their case and prepare documents and/or testify should contact their attorney and indicate the service is available. Our office number is 989-339-4464 and the attorney or their staff should call us about the case. We will need the particulars of the case, will schedule an in person meeting between the patient and the physician, and work closely with the attorney to prepare for trial. Many times a letter from the physician can resolve the case, other times a phone testimony will be allowed (this considerably reduces the expense from several thousand dollars to about $600), and in rare cases personal appearance by the physician is required by the court or prosecution.
  3. In the event our doctor or staff member needs to personally appear at a trial:
    1. The hearing date must be scheduled at least ONE MONTH in advance to allow us to adjust our clinic schedule.  We lose an entire day of clinic for your trial.
    2. Charges will be based on Record Review, Travel Time and Court Time.
    3. Charges MUST be paid in full 1 week prior to the court date, they are not refundable, and are good for the date scheduled only.  Specifically if the staff member is not required to appear that day, for any reason including plea, rescheduling, or weather delay, the charge is not refundable.
    4. If a court date is reschedule, the entire process including scheduling lead time and payment of full fee, repeats.
    5. There is an additional fee of $1000 for a required appearance with less than 2 weeks’ notice and payment is due PRIOR to the court date and within 48 hours of notice.
    6. Our fees and charges are what they are and not subject to court review.  To assure this, those requesting an Expert Witness will sign a contract for services which is not modifiable unless by mutual agreement.
    7. Failure to pay for our services as required voids our responsibility to provide those services.

If you don’t get charged with a crime, You Don’t Need Us

At Denali Healthcare we have a very conservative approach, one that we recommend to all our patients.  At every interaction with a patient certain things are stressed…

  1. Don’t break the law.
  2. Your medications are for you and you alone.  You may not transfer them in any way to any other patient, nor may any other patient possess them for you without specific documentation from us.
  3. You are to take your medication exactly as prescribed, and maintain your medication in a secured location so that it is not lost, stolen or diverted.  We do not replace lost or stolen medication.
  4. You are not to engage in any dangerous activity while even remotely impaired by medication and/or cannabis.  If you feel you are excessively impaired, or are having unexpected side effects or interactions, ensure your safety, seek help and notify us.
  5. We recommend UNAMBIGUOUS COMPLIANCE with Section 4 of the MMMA.  If there is ANY room for alternative interpretations that what you want to do is not in FULL COMPLIANCE with Section 4, DON’T DO IT.  We do not recommend any patient put themselves in a position to need a Section 8 Defense.
  6. Patients that obtain cannabis by growing it, getting it from their caregiver or by any other means are to use that cannabis for treatment of their own medical condition.  They are not to transfer it to any other individuals be they patients or not for any reason.  Caregivers are to grow only enough for their own patients and are to be fully compliant with Section 4 of the MMMA in their transfer to their registry associated patients.

Expert Witnesses, like your Lawyer, are professionals you hire to help defend you against a charge or clarify a question in the minds of the jury

If legal action is taken against any patient for a medication or cannabis related reason, it is up to the patient to mount a defense.  To do this, patients typically hire lawyers and expert witnesses.  Both the lawyers and experts are not parties in the case, nor are they responsible for the case being brought against the patient.  They are there to help with the defense, and they charge for those services.  Follow the rules as noted above and you won’t need them.  If you do need them because you have been charged with a crime, gladly pay them as they are there to help you and what they do has value.

Thank you and we are here for you.

The Denali Healthcare Staff

Recent Cases handled by Expert Witness Dr. Bob Townsend:

Attorney Carrie Gallagher Ionia Co Section 8 successfully defended, brought in as expert to evaluate an outside certification on three separate patients.  Manufacturing charge dismissed.  Dr. Townsend key witness to determine components of Bonafide Dr/Pt Relationship and defined the evolution of the Dr/Pt relationship as applied to medical marijuana from the onset of the act to the present.

Attorney Shawn Worden Antrim Co Section 8 successfully defended Bonafide Dr/Pt Relationship all charges Dismissed.