Manitoba

Medical marijuana mess: Winnipeg doctor censured after charging patients for pot paperwork

A Winnipeg doctor has been censured after charging patients for authorization paperwork in order to get medical marijuana.

Dr. Roman Chubaty billed patients up to $300 for authorization, says College of Physicians and Surgeons

A Winnipeg doctor has been censured after charging patients for authorization paperwork in order to get medical marijuana. (Sara Calnek/CBC)

A Winnipeg doctor has been censured after charging patients for authorization paperwork in order to get medical marijuana.

On Dec. 9, the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Manitoba censured Dr. Roman Chubaty for charging patients between $200 and $300 to complete paperwork around medical marijuana, a violation of the college's standards and conduct.

"Physicians are entitled to charge patients a fee for uninsured services, but the fee must be reasonable in the circumstances," the disciplinary report said.

Censures create a disciplinary record which may be considered in any future investigation or hearing about a doctor, according to the college.

​Chubaty, who runs two walk-in clinics in Winnipeg, started providing medical marijuana authorization to patients in July 2014 and stopped a year later, according to the report.

Assessment form

Patients had to complete an assessment form before they saw the doctor which explained the condition for which they needed marijuana and other treatments attempted.

In its investigation, the college said it was concerned that Chubaty also required patients to provide him with a release of their right to complain or take legal action before he would authorize the use of medical marijuana.

"The physician/patient relationship is a fiduciary one, which requires the physician to place the interests of the patient above his or her own interests and which requires good faith and candour on the part of the physician in dealing with his or her patient," the disciplinary report said.

"For those reasons, requiring a patient to sign a release of legal action and of the right to complain before providing care to the patient is inappropriate and outside of the standards of the profession."

Chubaty paid $3,803 for the costs of the investigation, the report added.

Connected to dispensary

In July 2015, Chubaty distanced himself from Your Medical Cannabis Headquarters on Main Street after police forced the dispensary to shut down.

Dispensary owner Glenn Price said Chubaty was the only doctor willing to help people get proper medical documentation.

At the time, Chubaty said he was following Health Canada's guidelines and charged $300 for paperwork.

He added he didn't encourage patients to purchase marijuana through dispensaries, and instead gave them a list of licensed producers.

Records destroyed

"I can't control what happens once they go out of the office," Chubaty told CBC in 2015. "I can tell them, 'You want to be legal, here's your certificate, here are the dispensaries that Health Canada has authorized.'"

However, the college's investigation found that Chubaty saw some patients at a marijuana compassion club and left the medical records of the patients with the club.

The records were later destroyed, leaving Chubaty with no record of the care of patients received at the club, the college's report says.

In July 2015, after the college expressed their concerns to the doctor, Chubaty stopped issuing authorizations of marijuana except for two patients who see him as their family physician.

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