MTCIA Testifies at Hearing on the Administrative Rules for SB 423

August 31, 2011 News

Today, the Department of Health and Human Services held the hearing on the rules in regards to the administration of SB 423. The Department will respond in writing to all the official hearing comments and other written comments received in the legal office. The Department will publish whether they agree, or disagree, with the comments received and will make the changes or edits to the rule as appropriate.

The MTCIA submitted the following concerns:

1. We ask for confirmation that any and all persons or parties with any access to the registry are held to confidentiality requirements.

 2. The rules indicate that if a provider submits application materials without including fingerprints, the department will send that provider the materials/instructions for finishing their application.

 The MTCIA asks whether those who have already submitted their provider paperwork without the fingerprint sample will also receive these materials.

3. Rule IX states “a registrant should notify the department and law enforcement as soon as possible when the registrant loses their registry identification or it is stolen.”

The MTCIA asks, is it a “suggestion” or would patients be required to reveal to local law enforcement that they have a medical condition, use cannabis to treat it, and that their card is missing in the case of a lost card?  If they don’t report a lost card, what is the offense? Are there penalties?

4. Rule II (9) states, “if the registered cardholder application is denied, the department will send the applicant notice of and reasons for the denial. Rejection of the application is considered a final department action, subject to judicial review.”

This means if the department turns down an applicant, the only recourse is to go to court  The MTCIA suggests a (less expensive) administrative remedy for reconsideration.

5. Throughout the rules, the department is regularly allowed 30 business days to complete tasks. Applicants are regularly allowed 30 days. The MTCIA asks that there be uniformity between the timelines for applicants and the timelines for the department in order to avoid confusion.

The MTCIA was the only testimony at the hearing.

Again, decisions are not made in response to public comments at rules hearings. We will be notified up the road as to whether any changes have been made to the rules based on the comments received. However, after the hearing, it was confirmed by DPHHS staff that all those with access to registry information are held to rules of confidentiality. They also said that those who have already submitted provider applications will receive instructions in regards to submitting fingerprints.

The new rules will go into effect when the emergency rules expire on September 28, 2011. We will inform you when we hear back.