Answer: To obtain a medical patient card requires two steps. ARS-36-2804.02 A doctor appointment to have a physician complete a state provided form called a Physician Certification form. Second, R9-17-102 an application fee of $150.00 or $75.00 if you are receiving food stamps, payable to the Arizona Dept. of Health Services when you submit your application. The Food stamp program is the only low-income group recognized for a discount by the State.
This is a voter approved medical program, authorized through the AZ State Legislator, and administered by the AZ Dept. of Health. Ideally, a person would have the required “Physician Certification” form completed by their primary care or treating physician, insurance would pay for the office visit like any other medical appointment. Physicians and Insurance companies have been given an opt out, not required to participate, so most don’t participate.
The required “Physician Certification“ form requires the doctor initial that she/he has reviewed medical records from other treating physicians in the past 12 months, to confirm the diagnoses. If a person has not been to a physician in the past 12 months, and all medical records are older than 365 days, that person will need to see a physician to create a medical record. This is another added cost.
If a person does see a physician regularly and requests a copy of his/her medical records, some doctors charge as much as $60 to make paper copies. Tip: Ask for them on a CD or to fax then to the doctor requesting them to avoid excessive cost.
Ironically a person does need the participation by a physician to participate in the medical marijuana program. This is where medical cannabis certification centers entered the picture to fill the gap. An additional out of pocket expense to see a physician who is willing to complete physician certification forms for qualifying patients. This type of medical office visit runs $100-250 depending on where you go, plus the state fee.
The fee paid to the state by patients, caregivers, and dispensaries, is excessive creating 11.2 million above what it cost to operate the program, according to the last annual report submitted to the legislators, July 2016. This money cannot be transferred to the General Fund, and the report did state it was disbursed to Interagency Compact Agreements. None of these funds are used to help registered patients. Under the last Administration the health dept. sent a monthly newsletter to registered patients, that was discontinued when Governor Ducey and Dr. Cara took over.
Send a letter to: AZDHS 150 N. 18th Ave., Phoenix, AZ 85007 Please, reduce card fees to $10. Collectively we have a voice.
This column is for information only and does not give medical or legal advice.
MJ Consulting LLC contracts with five NMD physicians and two medical assistants, to assist patients when you are ready. 928-772-2011, 8540 E. State Rt. 69, Prescott Valley, AZ 86314