By Daniel Casciato
Sun Valley Certification Clinic has turned the once grueling process of getting a medical marijuana card into a clinical and professional experience.
“Our facilities operate, look and smell like a family doctor’s office, with a team of physicians and medical staff onsite at each of our locations five to six days a week,” notes Dustin Klein Co-Founder of Sun Valley Certification Clinic.
“We work with an electronic medical record system that handles all data, including patient information, reminders for follow ups, referral program tracking, and communication channels that are paperless and HIPAA compliant,” he says.
Sun Valley aims to provide cannabis patients the nation’s finest certification experience, with a strong emphasis on professionalism and exceptional medical care. Focused on quality versus quantity, Klein says that they reject the status quo culture of seedy, transactional clinics, and instead, ensures that each patient feels cared for and safe.
“We are strictly devoted to the needs of cannabis patients and nationwide, across all of our clinics, we waive our charge to certify minors with life-threatening illnesses,” he says.
Founding Behind the Clinic
Klein started the clinic, along with his wife, Andrea. The Kleins have a long history witnessing and advocating the benefits of medical cannabis. Living with psoriatic arthritis and attending college in Colorado, Dustin got his medical card in 2005 and has experienced the certification process 13 times over the last decade to stay legal.
After moving to Arizona, they were outraged to see that there was little clinical process to getting a card: most clinics were lacking professionalism, organization, and focus on patient care. This fire was stoked by the loss of his mother and father within eighteen months of each other to pancreatic cancer and ALS, two diseases with numerous clinical trials that have demonstrated the benefits of cannabis. Unfortunately, his parents (both federal employees) never consented to try it. Wanting to help patients like his parents, and with his wife’s 15-year career experience in managing medical practices, in 2013 they built their first clinic with the money they saved for their honeymoon.
In three short years, the Kleins have grown their practice in Arizona to five locations (serving over 20% of all Arizona medical marijuana patients) launched a clinic in Nevada, serve California patients online, and opened Sun Valley in Fort Lauderdale. Sun Valley will shortly be providing online certifications for New York residents as well. In addition, the company has recently launched the first and only legitimate franchise model in the ancillary cannabis industry.
Obtaining a Medical Marijuana Card
Sun Valley provides professional, compassionate, and private evaluations for patients seeking to legally obtain a Florida Medical Marijuana Card. All of its physicians are licensed and in good standing with their Medical Boards.
“Medical Cannabis is not only a medical issue, but a legal one as well,” says Dustin Klein. “We follow medical board guidelines and Florida law so that your approval is legal, ethical and defensible in court.”
These are the medical conditions that qualify for a medical cannabis card:
• Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
• Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
• Crohn’s disease
• Parkinson’s disease
• Multiple sclerosis
• Conditions of the same kind or class, or comparable in pain and chronicity as the previous conditions
• A terminal condition in which a doctor has diagnosed to cause significant impairment and is irreversible, is not considered treatable, and will result in death within 1 year after diagnosis.
The process of obtaining your card takes 5 easy steps:
Step 1: Contact Sun Valley
Call them at 954-900-9788, send an email, or walk-in and start the evaluation process. They will answer any questions you have and describe the evaluation process. They will also explain the need for medical records documenting your qualifying condition and will obtain the records for you after you sign a medical release form.
Step 2: Schedule Appointment
Once they have reviewed your medical records, they will schedule your evaluation appointment. Same day appointments are available for patients with qualifying records in their possession.
Step 3: Meet The Doctor
When you come in for your appointment, a medical assistant will take your vitals and then introduce you to the doctor. He will review your records, perform an exam, discuss your condition and history, describe the proper use of medical marijuana and answer any questions you have. If you have a qualifying condition, the doctor will enter an order for your cannabis medication and will explain your dosage and consumption options.
Step 4: Same Day Submission
Immediately after your appointment, they will take your picture for your card, scan a copy of your Florida State ID, and assist you in uploading your application to Florida’s Medical Marijuana Program. A check should accompany your visit for the State’s fee. But they will address it for you and assist you in mailing it to the state—envelope included.
Step 5: Get Your Card
Upon approval of your submitted application, the State will email you your MMJ card ID number. This will allow you to purchase and possess cannabis until your patient card arrives to you in the mail.
“As a patient of Sun Valley and to continue your participation in the Florida MMJ program, you will be required to return for an initial follow up within 70 days of your first order, unless otherwise indicated by your ordering physician,” says Klein. “The State requires that you be re-examined by your physician at maximum every 30 weeks. Failure to meet with the doctor by your 30-week mark will result in termination from the state’s MMJ program.”
Klein adds that Sun Valley cares deeply about its patients and community.
“We are advocates for our patients and continually evolve our services and political activities with the goal of providing better service and protection to our patients,” he says. “We are experts in our field and it is very rewarding to witness the power of cannabis as medicine in the lives of our patients. We urge patients to call with their questions – it is our mission to educate patients on their options.”