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IDPH director violated rules, judge declares, so med-mar coverage must include PTSD

Wednesday, Jun 29, 2016

* Tribune

A Cook County judge ruled Tuesday that the state must add post-traumatic stress disorder to the list of conditions that qualify for medical marijuana.

The ruling may be rendered moot by pending legislation that would do the same thing. Gov. Bruce Rauner’s office had indicated he will sign it, after previously blocking expansion of the medical marijuana program.

The court ruling is potentially significant because there are pending lawsuits seeking to add seven other conditions to the list, including cases involving chronic pain and osteoarthritis that are before the same judge.

In his opinion, Cook County Circuit Court Judge Neil Cohen criticized Illinois Department of Public Health Director Nirav Shah for failing to follow the recommendations of the Medical Cannabis Advisory Board.

* AP

Illinois law allows people to petition the state to add health conditions to the eligible list, but Rauner’s administration has rejected all new conditions despite the advice of an expert panel that reviewed available medical evidence.

In the case of PTSD, the advisory board voted unanimously to add it, but Shah, a Rauner appointee, conducted his own investigation and rejected PTSD applying a standard of medical evidence that “appears nowhere in the Act or the Department’s rules,” the judge wrote. Shah not only deprived the plaintiff of his right to due process but also “was contrary to the plain language of the Department’s rules,” Cohen wrote. […]

Seven other plaintiffs have filed similar lawsuits seeking to add these conditions to the Illinois program: chronic post-operative pain, migraines, irritable bowel syndrome, polycystic kidney disease, osteoarthritis, intractable pain and autism. Cohen is the judge in the chronic pain and osteoarthritis cases, while the others are before other judges.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

21 Comments
  1. - northsider (the original) - Wednesday, Jun 29, 16 @ 11:29 am:

    Shah’s conduct is reflective of what is going on in every board and bureau. I’m very glad Judge Cohen called him on it.


  2. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Jun 29, 16 @ 11:30 am:

    post-traumatic stress disorder …Does this apply to all who are affectected by and have been left out in the cold due to social service programs closing??


  3. - Stark - Wednesday, Jun 29, 16 @ 11:31 am:

    Profiles in courage. What an excuse of an executive branch we have.


  4. - Honeybear - Wednesday, Jun 29, 16 @ 11:31 am:

    Well that’s good news for our Vets.


  5. - Unsolicited advice - Wednesday, Jun 29, 16 @ 11:35 am:

    Does anybody have a link to the order?


  6. - SAP - Wednesday, Jun 29, 16 @ 11:38 am:

    Nothing’s ever easy around this place. No wonder we are on day 365 without a budget.


  7. - RIJ - Wednesday, Jun 29, 16 @ 11:41 am:

    Hopefully the DEA will reschedule marijuana this summer. At least it would open the door more widely for medical applications.


  8. - Huh? - Wednesday, Jun 29, 16 @ 11:42 am:

    Dear Judge Cohen -

    I would like to have a court order for med mar to ease the side effects of my chronic 1.4%itis. This is a disease that I have been suffering from for the last 18 months. There is no known medication to alleviate my suffering. The only known and potential cure is another 3 years away. Unfortunately, that time frame is suspect because 1.4% has stated he was going to be running for a second term as governor.

    Thank you for your time and consideration.

    Sincerely and respectful yours,

    Social Services Agencies of Illinois.


  9. - Qui Tam - Wednesday, Jun 29, 16 @ 11:43 am:

    =Shah’s conduct is reflective of what is going on in every board and bureau.=
    =was contrary to the plain language of the Department’s rules=

    Under Quinn, you also had Departments such as ILRB, DCFS, IDHR, DCEO, and CMS also defended by the AG for clear violations of their own rules and due process against workers and other citizens.


  10. - cdog - Wednesday, Jun 29, 16 @ 11:45 am:

    ==applying a standard of medical evidence that “appears nowhere in the Act or the Department’s rules,” ==

    That’s is some messed up administering of statute and rule.

    (I would actually label it a type of bullying behavior where the rules don’t apply to the bully, but he/she will still be the enforcer of same.)

    Do we need to worry about what else is going on in this new bully-like-tune-up culture of the Rauner Administration?

    whoa. It about takes your breath away.


  11. - Osteoarthritis Patient - Wednesday, Jun 29, 16 @ 11:46 am:

    Fingers crossed that the judge will order osteoarthritis to be added as well. It wasn’t unanimous in the hearings (there were two nay votes in both May & October 2015), but it passed with an overwhelming majority.

    This director has just wasted the time and money of taxpayers fighting off the inevitable. I hope that this judge will send a clear message that the Advisory Board was formed to make recommendations that should be taken seriously.


  12. - Ghost - Wednesday, Jun 29, 16 @ 12:08 pm:

    wait you mean the Rauner administration can fail to follow law and its not Madigans fault? huh.


  13. - John Gregory (ex-IRN) - Wednesday, Jun 29, 16 @ 12:17 pm:

    Asked Rauner about these rejections at three consecutive press conferences late in 2015. All three times he refused to discuss it, pivoted back to the topic he wanted to highlight that day.


  14. - Henry Francis - Wednesday, Jun 29, 16 @ 12:26 pm:

    This - all day with this administration - classic “catch me if you can” - meep meep

    sternly worded ruling that also said the state’s public health director engaged in a “private investigation” that was “constitutionally inappropriate.”

    Anyone recall an administraton fight so many basic FOIA requests? Heck, the Guv doesn’t even have an email, phone or schedule anymore.


  15. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Jun 29, 16 @ 12:29 pm:

    –In the case of PTSD, the advisory board voted unanimously to add it, but Shah, a Rauner appointee, conducted his own investigation and rejected PTSD applying a standard of medical evidence that “appears nowhere in the Act or the Department’s rules,” the judge wrote. Shah not only deprived the plaintiff of his right to due process but also “was contrary to the plain language of the Department’s rules,” Cohen wrote. […]–

    “Yeah, but judge, that’s what the governor told me to do.?


  16. - Norseman - Wednesday, Jun 29, 16 @ 12:54 pm:

    IDPH’s director is being thrown under the bus. My bet is that he was ordered not to include it.


  17. - burbanite - Wednesday, Jun 29, 16 @ 1:20 pm:

    Not sure the Judge has the power to do that, but good for him!


  18. - Sigh - Wednesday, Jun 29, 16 @ 2:52 pm:

    To the under Quinn there were rule violations comment…. I thought under Rauner we were going to end business as usual, going to shake things up and reform Illinois.


  19. - BluegrassBoy - Wednesday, Jun 29, 16 @ 3:38 pm:

    I’m fine with the ruling but I just think this whole “pilot program” is a waste of time and resources. We’re just going to keep adding more and more conditions to the list of approved uses anyway.

    Legalize it, tax it, and let those who want it have it. We have real problems to solve - and this isn’t one of them.


  20. - Amalia - Wednesday, Jun 29, 16 @ 4:33 pm:

    ah, Neil Cohen, who was once famously quoted, in the paper, as saying, “Being on trial is better than sex.”


  21. - beer can bridge - Wednesday, Jun 29, 16 @ 5:23 pm:

    i am happy for those w PTSD that can soon access this medicine, but why we need a doctors permission and to pay the state $100 to have access to plant material is beyond me. It is 2016 lets grow up and legalize and regulate the herb


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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