If you remember my article from last week, you’ll know that I was supposed to get my medical card earlier this week. As you can probably tell from the intro: that didn’t happen.
When I scheduled my authorization appointment, I did everything right. I scheduled an appointment with my healthcare provider who is licensed to practice in Washington state; verified that their office had temper-proof paper; and, I showed up at my appointment on time. Unfortunately, I hadn’t accounted for the fact that they are a federally funded community health center. Although my primary care provider was willing to fill out the authorization form, she was — understandably — unwilling to risk her job to do so.
When I explained to her that reception had told me that their facility had completed authorization forms for other patients, she was skeptical of their knowledge of such things. Regardless, she still offered to email her boss to find out for sure. A nurse called me that evening to confirm that my provider’s boss had vetoed the idea because of the federal funding.
So now I’m back to square one.
As I have mentioned before, paying $150 for a 1-year authorization is not cost-effective. First of all, I would still need to continue to buy product from a dispensary while saving up for the authorization fee. As a result, it would take even longer for me to save up. Secondly, the tax exemption for medical patients in Washington State is an average 8.8% discount on all purchases. Not only is that less than the 10% discount that military vets and industry workers typically receive. I would have to spend $1705 a year ($1700 x .088 = $150.04) for the authorization to pay for itself. That’s an average of $142.10 a month, which is way more than my monthly budget allows for.
In fact, if I continue to spend about $15 a week on 1-gram of RSO, that’s only $65 a month ($15 per week x 52 weeks per year = $780 per year. $780 per year / 12 months per year = $65 per month.) Even if I spend $20 per gram each week, that would only come out to $87 a month (or $1040 per year).
On the other hand, with a medical card, I could start a small home grow or join a co-op. That might make up for the cost. I’ve done the math for a home grow in the past, and that was promising. Although I don’t know how much it costs to join a co-op, it’s likely that joining a co-op might be more cost-effective than an individual home grow because the cost of supplies and maintenance would be split between 4-people.
Nevertheless, my next step is to beg ask my pain management provider to make an exception and fill the authorization form out for me. Their office is private, so they shouldn’t have any federal funding concerns. Unfortunately, being a private office means they can — and do — refuse to do paperwork. Although it’s an inconvenient policy, it’s understandable given their caseload.
Here’s my argument though. Unlike some forms (e.g., proof of disability), the authorization form takes minutes to fill out. In fact, I would bet that it takes almost as much time to fill out the authorization form as it would take to write a prescription for a controlled substance; especially an opiate of some sort, which they prescribe to some of their patients. Plus, out of everything I’ve tried, RSO has given me the most consistent and function-preserving pain relief. Even better, the medically certified dispensary I’d like to purchase from sells 1-gram syringes of Charlotte’s Web RSO, but it’s $45 a gram. Although the tax exemption wouldn’t reduce the price by much, it would still make it cheaper (i.e., more accessible) for me. Plus, that strain wouldn’t be my primary choice because of the cost. I would probably buy it once a month and save it for the worst pain days.
If my pain management provider refuses to fill out the authorization form, my last ditch effort will be to schedule an appointment with my psychiatric medication management provider. She is a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner, and she is also employed by a private practice. It might cost a little extra to have the form printed out; however, that would still be cheaper than the $150 option. Plus, my med management provider has more time and is allowed to do paperwork.
I personally believe that the authorization form is a reasonable request for a pain management clinic. If they can take the time to fill out a prescription for a controlled substance once a month (e.g., Lyrica), why can’t they take the time to fill out a medical marijuana authorization once a year? My next trigger point injection appointment is scheduled for Wednesday, December 26, so I’ll give you an update once I have one. As a result, there may not be a medical card update next week. If something comes up, though, you’ll be the first ones to know!