San Luis Obispo doctor on probation over pot prescriptions

September 1, 2014
Dr. Atsuko Rees

Dr. Atsuko Rees

By KAREN VELIE
A San Luis Obispo physician who wrote 30,000 prescriptions for medical marijuana in three years has begun a probated sentence. Dr. Atsuko Rees, subject of an exclusive CalCoastNews story, had her medical license suspended for 45 days and remains under probation.

Dr. Rees would see as many as 60 to 70 patients on Fridays, charging $150 to $250 per patient and then writing them prescriptions for marijuana. California law allows physicians to prescribe marijuana, but the law requires that doctors conduct an examination of each patient themselves.

In October, 2010, an undercover San Luis Obispo police officer posing as a patient and claiming to be suffering from back pain went to Dr. Rees at Family Medical on Higuera Street.

Instead of diagnosing the patient herself, Dr. Rees had her physician’s assistant Mary Eanes conduct the evaluation in violation of the law, according to charges filed by the California Attorney General’s Office against Dr. Rees.

At that time, both Dr. Rees and Eanes would approve patients’ medical marijuana status. However, to comply with California law, Dr. Rees would sign off on patients as if she had seen each patient personally, former co-workers told CalCoastNews.

In another undercover operation, an officer posed as a patient seeking a prescription for medical marijuana. Dr. Rees wrote in the patient’s medical record that she performed a medical examination. The officer said she did not and that Dr. Rees began writing the prescription less than three minutes after the examination began. The whole appointment lasted less than six minutes, according to the allegations made by the attorney general’s office.

In 2012, the California Attorney General’s Office filed the accusation brought against Dr. Rees by the Medical Board of California for the following seven causes of discipline: gross negligence in the care and treatment of patients, repeated acts of negligence, incompetence, creation of false medical records, employing a person to procure patients, giving rebates for patient referrals, and failure to use her name in advertising.

Last year, Dr. Rees agreed to a stipulated settlement and disciplinary order in which she lost her license for 45 days and was placed on five years’ probation.

“It is hereby ordered that Physicians and Surgeons Certificate No. C 41745 issued to respondent Atsuko Rees M.D. is revoked,” The settlement says. “However, the revocation is stayed and respondent (Dr. Rees) is placed on probation for five years on the following terms and conditions.”

Those terms included the 45 day suspension, the taking of multiple courses in prescribing practices and medical ethics, hiring a person to monitor her practice and a ban from supervising physician assistants.

After serving her 45 day suspension, Dr. Rees went back to dispensing medical marijuana recommendations at Rees family Medical in San Luis Obispo.

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53 Comments

  1. bsdetective007 says:

    So care! Dr. M. Aron in Templeton that’s all he’s good for. He can’t practice medicine in a hospital or a practice, so the only type he can practice is hand out marijuana licenses.

    Dr Rees had been targeted by the Costco Pharmacist and has called friends in.

    DEA… Really Licenses? Go after all the meth manufacturers and the people who are supplying Heroin to the kids on the streets. A license really?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  2. elaineway12 says:

    Personally, I think adults have the right to get high thru pot, alcohol or any way that doesn’t endanger others. I am 60 and many of my friends and kids friends smoke or have smoked. I know one person who got a medical card from Dr. Rees in 2014 and paid $120 for a 1-year Rx. I think this is reasonable considering the state of our pot laws. We need to legalize and regulate it. Let’s see how things go in Colorado and Washington, whether there is an increase of accidents or other problems or not from legalized recreational use. I understand those who fear more pot use in our society. But I have smoked occasionally for 40 years and so have most of my friends and we are all employed, tax-paying, working family people who are responsible. No more stereotyping please.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

    • zaphod says:

      no doctor can prescribe marijuana in California. marijiuanna is not a prescribed drug listed USP.
      marijuana can be recommended for you by your primary care provider if you ask for it just because 215 passed by initiative of citizens did not get it status status as a prescribed drug a recommendation is not a prescription

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  3. TiaMiaOhMy says:

    I don’t understand WHY we are wanting to legalize another mind altering drug that so many people are using recreationally. IF YOU NEED it for medical purposes – TRULY – then why
    isn’t in a pill form or liquid and dispensed like other drugs? AND regulated? This bullshit of
    dispensing it at any ole Dr.’s office and putting it in suckers, brownies, muffins, smoothies,
    and who knows what is a sham! Let’s get real people – it’s just people having “their cocktail”.I get that. But I also think that another “wrong” doesn’t make it right! Even with it legalized
    there is still going to be a “black market” from those who won’t want to pay the market price
    that will include all the TAXES and such. I say let the Drug Companies may medicinal forms and put it in pharmacies for the people who REALLY NEED IT!! Legalization is a JOKE and Ithink is stupid when CA is so anti-smoking and “second-hand smoke” paranoid. I wouldn’t
    want my baby’s room in an apartment next to a bunch of pot smoking idiots that I couldn’t
    call the Cops on because it was “legal” for them to smoke it!! DON’T LEGALIZE marijuana –
    lawsuits will also follow.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2

  4. deebo says:

    How silly, just legalize it. Stop wasting money and resources fighting it, spend it on crushing meth. Tax the hell out of it, and use it to help fix our broken education system in Cali.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 3

    • agag1 says:

      Our employees use equipment that can easily slice or chop a hand off. It scares the heck out of me that someone under the influence of pot could not be terminated when they showed up to work stoned. We can’t allow people to work under the influence of alcohol, how is this different?
      Imagine what this would do to worker’s comp insurance rates.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2

      • elaineway12 says:

        If you are really in business as you say, you know very well you can require a no-drug policy for your employees. You may say this is another expense and you will go out of business if you have to do this. But all that is needed is one test 30 days into employment and very occasional testing of questionable employees. You can buy testing kits quite cheaply at any drug store.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

      • bsdetective007 says:

        Oh Drama! Drama! Drama! For gods sake if you are a business owner you know your rights as an employer. Do your job as an employer. Shut up.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  5. Rich in MB says:

    I’m fully in support of Medical and Legal pot….heck…lets keep those Leftists too stonned to make it to the Voting booth…ha ha ha

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 14

  6. Rich in MB says:

    Meanwhile….They are giving Free Medical Pot to the Poor in Oakland, CA

    http://www.myfoxny.com/story/26448679/city-mandates-free-medical-marijuana-for-low-income-residents

    Why not…you gotta control the mob somehow right?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 3

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