A Chicago doctor could face a suspended or repealed medical license after the state regulatory board accused him of taking fees for “pre-approval” medical marijuana consultations with patients even before the state program is officially underway.
Dr. Brian Murray charged patients a $99 fee for an initial clinic visit needed to establish a “legitimate physician-patient relationship” as required under Illinois law. According to a Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation filed Monday, the fee is “misleading” and falls under state medical malpractice laws.
“Unlike some states, Illinois law does not allow for ‘medical cannabis clinics’ or practices that exist solely to offer cannabis certifications,” the department said in a prepared statement. “We want to make sure that patients who would truly benefit from the relief of medical cannabis are not misled and physicians are not violating the law.”
The complaint continues with allegations that Murray’s Good Intentions clinic didn’t even have file cabinets to store patient records and that the exam rooms didn’t have exam tables or any other discernible medical equipment. There was an inflatable mattress allegedly found in one room. The manager of the clinic, Daniel Reid, said the complaints were baseless and false.
“[Murray] didn’t pre-qualify or anything of the sort,” Reid told Crain’s. Speaking to DNAinfo, he also said, “Yes, we were the first to open and the first to be sued, and what I call that is leadership.”
Reid tells DNAinfo.com that his office is sparsely furnished, yes, but that doesn’t mean legitimate exams aren’t being conducted. Reid also says that there hasn’t been any follow up appointments yet because the medical marijuana dispensary laws haven’t taken effect yet.
He says the shop has been up front with patients since the beginning and that the $99 applies to all office visits. From to the Good Intentions website:
“No patient will receive a medical marijuana recommendation at their first visit or before January 1, 2014. The purpose of the first visit is to establish a doctor-patient relationship and have the doctor evaluate your therapy needs. After your visit, the doctor will ask you for a return visit if you appear to qualify for the program. You will be asked to complete a follow-up medical survey on your current symptoms and therapies. After your second visit and if the doctor recommends medical marijuana therapy, you will be required to return for follow-up visits to monitor your progress. The cost for each visit is $99.”
State Rep. Lou Lang, who helped write the state’s medical marijuana laws didn’t comment on the situation specifically, but argued that generally doctors should be able to specialize in medical marijuana recommendations and said that they would have to establish a patient relationship somehow.
“We assumed from the beginning that enterprising doctors would market themselves as places where people would go if their doctors won’t write the letter,” he told Crain’s Chicago Business. “But there needs to be a real relationship.”