A Denver District Court judge decided against reinstating the medical licenses of a psychiatrist and three other physicians who allegedly authorized the possession of an excessively high number of marijuana plants for hundreds of individuals without medical necessity.
In his August 12 decision, the judge said he did not have the jurisdiction to make a ruling because the case had not yet been reviewed in an administrative proceeding.
The Colorado Medical Board had summarily suspended the licenses of the four doctors, effective July 19.
One of the four, Deborah Kaye Parr of Durango, practiced as a psychiatrist providing addiction treatment.
The Board’s order of suspension for Parr stated that from January 1 to May 25, 2016, she signed more than 300 medical marijuana certifications authorizing individuals who did not have a diagnosis of cancer to possess 75 or more marijuana plants.
The standard number of plants a medical marijuana patient can grow is six, with a medical justification needed for more plants.
All four of the doctors with suspended licenses sued the state, claiming that there is no law or Medical Board rule prohibiting doctors from authorizing large plant counts.
The Medical Board maintained that it has the authority to determine whether a doctor’s treatment of patients is standard medical practice.
The Board found that authorizing more than 75 marijuana plants without a diagnosis of cancer falls “below generally accepted standard of medical practice and lacks medical necessity” and is, therefore, a violation of the Medical Practice Act in Colorado law.
Parr previously disciplined in Texas for controlled substances prescribing
Parr was previously disciplined by the Texas Medical Board, where she was licensed from 1998 to 2012, for her prescribing of controlled substances to two patients with a history of substance abuse.
According to the Texas Board, Parr prescribed increasing doses of a controlled substance without a documented rationale for one patient, and substituted opiates instead of trying to wean the other patient off Vicodin.
The Board found that Parr harmed the patients, that “the harm was severe and contributed to [their] addiction,” and that her actions constituted “increased potential of harm to the public.” Parr’s failure to appear at a settlement conference was cited as an additional aggravating factor in determining the disciplinary action taken.
On June 4, 2010, the Texas Medical Board and Parr entered into an agreed order that publicly reprimanded her, fined her $10,000, and required her to complete educational courses.
The Colorado Medical Board followed the Texas Board’s action by sending Parr a letter of admonition in November 2010, warning her that “any repetition of such practice may lead to the commencement of formal disciplinary proceedings against your license to practice medicine” in Colorado.
Sara Carver, director of clinical operations for Southern Rockies Addiction Treatment Services, expressed concern about Parr’s history of prescribing opiate-based drugs to patients with a history of substance abuse, according to the Durango Herald.
“We…fear that her questionable prescribing practices spill over into her prescribing practices in addiction treatment as well,” Carver said.