FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

Frequently asked questions:

I don’t trust medical doctors so I haven’t been in to one for years. What do I do?” We are glad to review records for naturopathic doctors, DO’s, ODs, acupuncturists and chiropractors if you have been seeing one instead of a medical doctor. If you haven’t been to any healthcare provider you will need to find a care provider and begin treatment with them before you come see us. One appointment is not enough to establish care with them. We need to see that you have tried other treatments that were not successful so it requires multiple appointments. Let us know if you want a referral to a doctor you can have an honest conversation about cannabis with.

I used to see a doctor but I haven’t in several years. I do have my condition documented in older records and it will never go away. Why do I need new records?” WA state law requires that you are in active treatment for your qualifying condition. We need new records to show who your doctor is and that you have seen them in the past year. You’ll need to see them at least once a year.

I see my doctor regularly for other problems but haven’t mentioned that I was in pain because I’ve just been using cannabis and it works!” We’re glad you have found a treatment that works for you, but WA state law requires that we have records showing that you’ve been in pain. Be sure to mention your pain to your doctor at every appointment so it is well-documented.

I’ve had a cannabis authorization for anxiety, depression or insomnia before- why won’t you see me?” We’re sorry to report that the doctor you saw before was not following the law. These conditions do not qualify for cannabis use in WA state. We understand that many patients find cannabis helpful for these complaints. Perhaps you have another well-documented condition that can cause anxiety, depression or insomnia. It is not unusual for patients with chronic pain, PTSD, brain injuries or other health problems to also have these symptoms.

I have PTSD, what kind of documents do I need?”. If the primary reason you hope to or currently use medical cannabis is relief from symptoms of PTSD, we need documentation of your diagnosis. It is helpful if you are currently under care and you can bring documentation of care in the past year that proves you are still experiencing symptoms, however, absent current documentation in some cases we can accept diagnosis only. This is up to the doctor’s discretion.

I was diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury, what kind of documents do I need?” If the primary reason you hope to or currently use medical cannabis is relief from symptoms of your TBI, we need documentation of your diagnosis. It is helpful if you are currently under care and you can bring documentation of care in the past year that proves you are still experiencing symptoms, however, absent current documentation in some cases we can accept diagnosis only. This is up to the doctor’s discretion.

HOW TO UPDATE YOUR MEDICAL FILE WITH US

How to update your medical file- for patients that need additional information

With the changes in WA state law, cannabis patients need to be able to prove current treatment of their qualifying condition. We understand that many conditions “will never go away” and that you may find seeking care futile in some cases but we must follow the state’s recommended guidelines to protect patients and our physicians. Following guidelines will allow us to continue providing care. You may have noticed that many facilities that used to offer cannabis authorizations no longer do so because of the stringent new guidelines.

For chronic/intractable pain and many other conditions it is also necessary to document what treatments you have tried in the past. It’s ideal to do so through copies of your medical chart, labs and imaging reports, although we can also accept letters from your physician that confirm your diagnosis- ideal if they’d like to allow cannabis use for you but cannot authorize for various reasons. We can use records from all the health care providers you have seen: MD, ND, LAc, LMHC, Psy, DO, DC, LMT, PT are a few of the abbreviations you’ll find after these health care provider’s names. If you have medical records of your qualifying condition that are more than one year old, you’ll need to update your medical record. You can return to your physician to let them know you are still experiencing symptoms so that they are properly documented. If you don’t have a current physician, you’ll need to find one.

There are many reasons it is best to have a current health care provider aside from needing one for documentation purposes. Many health conditions have early signs and symptoms that can be identified with regular exams and labs. Most health problems are best treated early. Many of our patients prefer more natural treatments- natural treatments are usually more successful in early disease stages. Naturopathic physician can be ideal primary health care providers if you prefer more natural treatment methods or are wary of conventional drugs.

It is not necessary to try medications you have already unsuccessfully used or treatments that didn’t work for you in the past. If they are suggested by your physician at the appointment, let them know and ask them to put the failed treatments in your file so they will not be suggested again.

Medical care does not have to be prohibitively expensive. If you have health insurance, try seeking out care covered by your plan first as it will usually be less expensive than non-covered providers. For uninsured patients, many health care providers offer reasonably priced options- consider community clinics and those that offer sliding scale fees. Additionally, all of our physicians have private practices and would be glad to see you.

HOW TO PREPARE FOR YOUR APPOINTMENT

What to do before your appointment

In order for your appointment to go smoothly, you’ll need to collect some information for our doctor. This is so that we know who your doctor is and what treatments you have tried in the past. This helps us create an appropriate treatment plan for you.

If you are new to our office, please obtain records for the past 5 years, including records from the past year. We do require at least one document from care in the past year. All types of care are helpful for us to see- including medical doctors, naturopathic doctors, chiropractors, physical therapists, etc. If you cannot get records for the past 5 years, please get what you can. This is to show who you see for care and that you are currently being treated by this healthcare provider. Many qualifying conditions require that we show your condition is “chronic”- meaning long-term and that your condition impacts your ability to perform activities such as sleep, work, care for home, cooking, walking, etc. Pain fits into this category, for an intractable pain diagnosis you’ll need to show documents that prove that you’ve been in pain for at least a year and that you have tried other treatments without success.

If you are a returning patient from our office we only need records from the past year so we know what care you have received in the past year, who you see for care, that you are currently being treated by this healthcare provider. In the event that you did not provide past records at your initial appointments, we appreciate you bringing older records to complete your chart.

Some patients wish to bring a note from their doctor stating that they wish to add cannabis/marijuana to your current treatment plan. If so, that is very helpful for us. The note will need to be dated in the past year. Please bring that note to your appointment.

If you don’t have a doctor’s note, it is best to have your doctor’s office fax copies of your chart, including imaging reports and lab reports directly to us at (888) 204 1280 . You’ll need to sign a “Release of Information Form” from us or your doctor’s office allowing your doctor to send this information to us. It can take up to 3 weeks for records to be transferred, so please take care of this as soon as you can. Faxed records are usually sent free of charge. It is common to charge a fee if you want to pick up the records from your doctor. If you pick up the records, please bring them to your appointment.

Records from a “Patient Portal” aren’t the same as the chart notes provided from doctor to doctor but they can be helpful if you don’t have time to get the records faxed to us.

If you do not bring enough information to your appointment, we will ask you to return for another appointment after you obtain the necessary records from your doctor.

IF YOU WISH TO DISCUSS  WANTING ADDITIONAL PLANT COUNTS OVER 6 PLANTS

**YOU MUST DISCUSS THIS AT YOUR VISIT AND REQUEST THE ADDITIONAL REQUEST PAPERWORK AT THE TIME YOU SCHEDULE YOUR APPOINTMENT**

** ALL PATIENTS WHO RECEIVE 6-15 PLANTS MUST REGISTER WITH THE WA ST DOH AT A MEDICAL ENDORSED RETAIL OUTLET IMMEDIATELY AFTER GETTING THEIR RECOMMENDATION FROM THEIR PHYSICIAN **

You will also need to bring your Washington State ID or Driver’s License to your appointment.

**DESIGNATED PROVIDERS

ALL PATIENT DESIGNATED PROVIDER’S MUST  BE PRESENT AT TIME OF PATIENTS APPOINTMENT TO SIGN THEIR CONSENT FOR PROVIDER AGREEMENT PER WASHINGTON STATE LAW , DOH REQUIREMENTS AND MUST REGISTER WITH THE WA ST DOH AT A MEDICAL ENDORSED RETAIL OUTLET IMMEDIATELY AFTER GETTING THE RECOMMENDATION