August 7, 2012 at 12:32 PM
Charges filed against naturopaths for marijuana authorizations at Hempfest
The state Department of Health has charged two naturopaths with unprofessional conduct for operating an “assembly line” practice of authorizing medical marijuana at last year’s Hempfest.
The charges, filed Tuesday, appear to be the first disciplinary action taken against a state medical professional for a medical marijuana authorization, said Tim Church, a DOH spokesman.
The two naturopaths, Carolyn Lee Bearss and Dimitrios Jimmy Magiasis were featured in a Seattle Times story last August in which a reporter received a medical marijuana authorization for $150 at a Hempfest tent. Bearss recommended marijuana as treatment for the reporter’s lower-back pain without seeing medical records after an appointment that lasted 11 minutes.
The naturopaths were independent contractors for a company owned by 4Evergreen Group, one of the largest regional clinics specializing in medical marijuana authorizations.
During Hempfest, the two naturopaths saw a combined 216 patients and recommended marijuana for 214 of them, according to the DOH charges against Bearss and Magiasis. The charges accuse the naturopaths of stretching the definition of “intractable pain” – one of the qualifying conditions under the state medical cannabis law — and of failing to explore other treatment options, as also required.
“This assembly line type of practice failed to meet the standard of care because individualized treatment options were not adequately rendered to the patient,” according to the charges.
The state medical marijuana law protects medical professionals from criminal or disciplinary charges if they follow a set of rules, including completing an exam and documenting other ways used to treat “the terminal or debilitating medical condition” other than marijuana.
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The Today File is a general news blog featuring real-time coverage of Seattle and the Northwest. It is reported by the news staff of The Seattle Times and edited by Assistant Metro Editor Nick Provenza.
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