Physician offers free medical marijuana appointments for defrauded patients

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Cassville physician and vocal supporter of medical marijuana Dr. Lisa Roark, MD, is stepping up to help 600 patients who were defrauded by a fake physician.

About 600 medical marijuana patients were defrauded by a person pretending to be a physician who certified them for medical marijuana. The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services announced the incident in a press release on June 19, and Roark immediately offered to certify patients who were defrauded for free through her Cassville-based clinic, Roark Family Health. She also reached out to other medical marijuana-supportive doctors and clinics to do the same.

“This is absolutely outrageous,” Roark said. “Someone posing as a doctor did 600 fake physician certifications. Now, these poor patients have to scramble to get new certifications.”

Roark does telehealth appointments for medical marijuana-seeking patients through her clinic. Roark is also the CEO and medical director of The Dispensary, LLC, commonly known as Cassville Dispensary, a medical marijuana dispensary opening later this year.

“Through our many types of regulatory efforts, we remain watchful for any wrongdoing in order to protect Missourians,” said DHSS Director Dr. Randall Williams. “Our main concern is how this fraudulent activity negatively affects patients, and we are working to minimize the impact on them while also holding accountable those who are responsible.”

However, Williams went on to say patients will be notified if their physician certification was performed by the fake doctor, and then those patients have 30 days to get valid physician certifications from a new physician, despite patients being unaware the doctor was impersonating someone else.

Roark said her clinic would not stand idle knowing these patients are already out at least $100 for their initial appointment that was not valid.

“For many patients, even $100 for a telehealth appointment is an undue burden,” she said. “Many medical marijuana patients are low-income, disabled or veterans. They shouldn’t have to scrimp and save to pay yet another fee. That’s why we are offering to do their certifications at no cost.”

Roark also put out the call to other physicians through a variety of medical marijuana networks asking them to do the same.

“Roark Family Health will do these certifications for free with proof from DHSS that the patient was affected, but we can’t do all of them by ourselves,” she said. “So, I asked all of my fellow cannabis doctors to help, as well.”

So far, multiple other clinics are also helping with the mission to ensure these patients do not lose their medical marijuana cards.

The following clinics will certify patients who have proof that they were affected by this incident:

• Roark Family Health, Cassville, telehealth appointments available, www.RoarkFamilyHealth.com, 417-847-1111

• THC2 Higher Clinic, Tulsa, Okla., telehealth appointments available, tulsahighercareclinic.com

• Dr. Mimi Vo, Vo Medical Clinic, St. Louis

• Sheley-Sorin Clinic, Springfield, telehealth appointments available, www.realholisticdoc.com, 417-351-5221

• Midwest GreenCert, St. Louis, telehealth appointments available, www.midwestgreencert.com, 314-596-9955

• Educated Alternative/Primero Cannabis Clinics, St. Louis, telehealth appointments available, www.educatedalternative.org, 314-803-3303

• Elevate Holistics, St. Louis, telehealth appointments available, www.elevate-holistics.com, 660-205-2215

• Bootheel Outpatient Care, Hayti, 573-479-3036

Roark is a graduate of the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine. She is trained in all areas of primary care, including obstetrics, pediatrics, chronic illness management, women’s health, geriatrics, and many outpatient procedures. She is also a vocal and active advocate for access to safe, effective medical marijuana for all patients.