Know Your Rights

February 15, 2018

By: Maddie Brown RPN

Resistance is futile!

On a weekly basis, I am met with resistance when dealing with physicians and medical cannabis. I understand that some physicians are not comfortable or willing to prescribe medical cannabis. That is fine. However, it is a doctor’s responsibility to REFER you to someone who will prescribe to you if they are not willing. It’s the same as if you were trying to get an abortion, technically your doctor can refuse; but they must refer you to someone who will perform the procedure. You can not always decide what the appropriate, or best treatment for your patient is. They have full access to seek out whatever services they want; including naturopathic doctors, hypnotists, therapists, or legal cannabis services.

Many patients are going to look into cannabis as an alternative to traditional, failed options.

TeamMD is here to help educate your friends and family about the laws regarding your own medical documents. Many patients are not aware, but as a recipient of health care in Canada, we all have the right of access our personal health information, including any information that has been stamped or indicated as confidential by a medical doctor or clinic. If you formally request your medical records in writing, the attending physician has 30 days to send the file to the person or clinic you have specified. If this is not done, the College of Physicians is contacted, and they contact the physician directly, who is forced to send the files.

If you are a practicing doctor in Canada, you are welcome to attend one of our information sessions on medical cannabis, since the amount of users is going to continue to rise across the country. Many patients are going to look into cannabis as an alternative to traditional, failed options. There is no obligation on a doctor’s part to actually prescribe the cannabis, but being informed about the basics of this medicine and how to legally access it, can allow for these physicians to be more willing to refer these patients to us with confidence, knowing they are going through a legal, health Canada recognized agency.

We had an oncology patient a few months ago who came in and filled out our `Document Release` form, which allows us to request his files. Over two weeks went by before we received a fax back stating “I don’t feel comfortable providing this documentation.”

My fax back simply stated:

“I appreciate your opinion, however, it is your patient’s legal right to access their medical file. I will send the request once more today, with a ‘3rd Attempt’ notice. If we do not receive the patient’s file, we will contact the College of Physicians and Surgeons, as per the *HIPAA privacy rules.”

We got the patient’s file back in less than 10 minutes….

If you or someone you know is facing bias or difficulty in this regard, please email us at and let us assist you in obtaining your personal ACMPR license.

By the numbers:


*HIPAA: Acronym that stands for the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, a US law designed to provide privacy standards to protect patients’ medical records and other health information provided to health plans, doctors, hospitals and other health care providers.