Behind the Scenes | Exclusive
To get the details about qualifying for a medical marijuana card in Arizona, we sat down with CannaPatient owner Ross Taylor to get some answers.
DAN: So Ross, where are CannaPatient’s located?
ROSS:Currently we have medical marijuana evaluation centers in Gilbert and Prescott. We also have plans for a third office in Phoenix in the future.
The address of our Gilbert location is located at 428 N Gilbert Road, Suite N in downtown Gilbert and our Prescott location is at 333 S Montezuma St. Suite B. You can find us online at www.cannapatient.com.
DAN: Do you accept walk-ins?
ROSS: Yes, we do accept walk-ins if they have medical records and the staff can immediately begin to schedule an appointment. Sometimes we can even see the patient on the spot. Patients can make an appointment by phone or on our website at www.cannapatient.com.
DAN: So, if I wanted to get a medical marijuana prescription, what should I know or do before going to see your clinic?
ROSS: First: You need to know if you qualify. You must have one of the following conditions for a doctor to be able to recommend medical marijuana. (for a list of qualifying conditions click here)
DAN: So if I have one of the qualifying conditions, what’s next?
ROSS: Patients can make an appointment with CannaPatient on our website at www.cannapatient.com or by phone at 888-506-2553. When a patient makes an appointment they must fill out the medical release form and patient history form. This allows our evaluating doctor to review the patient’s medical records and qualifying condition. When the patient arrives the day of the appointment, the evaluating doctor simply certifies that the patient has the qualifying condition and discusses with the patient cannabis treatment plan options.
DAN: I have severe migraines and a number of other problems that can create a world of pain for me and many times they interfere with my ability to work or sleep. I’ve tried drugs that my doctor has prescribed (Vicodin, Percocet, etc.); they made me woozy, made me sick, not to mention, I hate putting chemicals in my body. Would I qualify?
ROSS: Many of our patients with similar severe pain are referred to us by their primary care physician and have tried other prescription treatment plans with little or no success. A referral from your primary physician will not ensure that you receive a recommendation, but it goes a long way in proving your case to the evaluating doctor and to the State.
DAN: If I currently use marijuana to alleviate pain, should I tell the doctor?
ROSS: Yes, definitely. If a patient has had positive results using medical marijuana to relieve the symptoms of their condition in the past, then they should let the evaluating doctor know. Not only does it help them make their determination, but it also shows that a marijuana treatment plan (whether legal or not) has worked for the patient in the past.
DAN: Why would a doctor not recommend medical marijuana to someone?
ROSS: A patient must show they truly qualify for a medical marijuana recommendation. Evaluation centers are not going to hand out recommendations to anyone that walks through the door, as it is in some other States. Simply stated, if you don’t qualify, you will not receive a recommendation. There is a lot of pressure by the State to make sure doctors are not abusing the State’s guidelines, those that do, risk having their license revoked and could face prosecution.
DAN: Is there anything I should bring to my appointment (ie. Records)?
ROSS: When a patient sets up an appointment at our clinic we will send them a Medical Release Form and a Patient History Form that need to be completed and returned before the appointment. These forms give our physician access to the patient’s medical records that are held by their primary physician. However, if a patient has records that aren’t on file with their primary physician, they need to bring those with them.
Patients also need to bring:
- Arizona issued Driver’s License or Photo Identification
- Caregiver’s information (if patient is planning on using one)
- Payment for Appointment
DAN: What kinds of payment do you accept?
ROSS: We accept cash and all major credit cards.
DAN: How soon can you see me?
ROSS: We are taking appointments now. You can set up an appointment online at www.cannapatient.com or by calling 888-552-2553. Call anytime from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm, Monday through Saturday.
DAN: How long does a medical marijuana evaluation take?
ROSS: Patients must complete and return the medical release form and patient history form before the appointment. These forms will take 15 or 20 min to fill out. The actual appointment consists of two parts. First we take the patient’s vitals (blood pressure, heart rate, height, weight, etc.), which takes 15 to 20 minutes. Once those are complete the patient will sit down with the doctor to discuss their condition and how medical marijuana may help. If the doctor concludes that medical marijuana may be of benefit to them, the physician will discuss a treatment plan and usage options with the patient (ie: smoking, digesting, topical balm and creams, etc). The meeting with the physician takes 15 or 20 min. Qualifying patients are issued recommendations at the end of the appointment, which in total lasts 30 minutes to 45 min.
DAN: Can you tell me how insurance works? Will my insurance cover the evaluation fee?
ROSS: No, unfortunately insurance will not cover the evaluation fee. You can try to submit it to your insurer for reimbursement, but it is highly unlikely they will pay it.
DAN: Say I work for the city or even the state and my benefits include health insurance. Seeking a medical marijuana card is something I may not want them to know. Does this get reported to them or my work or anyone? Sorry. I guess I’m just your typical paranoid patient.
ROSS: Because of doctor-patient confidentiality laws, your medical marijuana records private and will not be shared with anyone, including your insurer or employer.
DAN: Well thanks for taking time to speak with us, i can see you are busy. Anything else you want to let patients know?
ROSS: Patients that are interested in getting a medical marijuana card should make an appointment sooner than later. Appointments times are filling up quickly and the Department of Health Services is receiving hundreds of applications weekly.