Judge rejects attempt by doctor with no computer skills to regain license

A New Hampshire judge has denied an 84-year-old doctor’s request to regain her license to practice, which she had surrendered partly over her inability to use a computer.

Dr. Anna Konopka stands in front of her tiny office where she sees patients, Thursday, Nov. 2, 2017 in New London, NH. The 84-year-old physician is fighting to get her license back after being accused by the state’s Board of Medicine of problems with her record keeping, prescribing of medicines and medical decision making. Among the problems is that she doesn’t use a computer so can’t participate in the state-regulated drug monitoring program. AP Photo Michael Casey

By Michael Casey, Associated Press, Concord Monitor November 27, 2017

The state challenged Dr. Anna Konopka’s record keeping, prescribing practices and medical decision making. It said her limited computer skills prevent her from using the state’s mandatory electronic drug monitoring program, which requires prescribers of opioids to register in an effort reduce overdoses.

Konopka surrendered her license in October, but later requested permission to continue her practice. New Hampshire Public Radio reported Monday that Merrimack Superior Court Judge John Kissinger ruled Nov. 15 that she failed to show she was forced to give up her license, as she alleged.

Konopka has asked the judge to reconsider his decision on Wednesday. He hasn’t responded yet, so she still cannot see the 20 to 25 patients per week as she once did.

“I’m not upset about anything. The legal system is a game. You move. They move. It’s full of tricks and different movements,” she said.

“I am fighting. Therefore as long as I am fighting, I have some hope,” she added.

Konopka doesn’t have a computer in her office and doesn’t know how to use one. Two file cabinets in a tiny waiting room inside a 160-year-old clapboard house hold most of her patient records. The only sign of technology in the waiting room is a landline telephone on her desk.

Dr. Anna Konopka, 84, looks through her patient appointment book in the office of her three-room country doctor’s office, situated next to her home in New London NH, Saturday, Nov. 18, 2017. Dr. Konopka is trying to get her license back after it was revoked by the state medical board. She says it is because she refuses to pay for electronic health records, and doesn’t trust them, and that other doctors don’t like them either but are too afraid to speak out against this system put in place to benefit insurers rather than patients. Cheryl Senter for STAT

According to the state, the allegations against Konopka started with a complaint about her treatment of a 7-year-old patient with asthma. She’s been accused of leaving dosing levels of one medication up to the parents and failing to treat the patient with daily inhaled steroids. Konopka, who agreed to a board reprimand in May, said she never harmed the patient and the boy’s mother disregarded her instructions.

Four more complaints have since been filed against Konopka. The board in September voted to move forward with a disciplinary hearing on those complaints. But before the hearing was held, Konopka agreed in to give up her license — something she said she was forced to do.

Konopka has built a loyal following in New London, population 4,400, and surrounding towns because she brings a personal touch that is attractive to patients weary of battling big hospitals and inattentive doctors. She often attracts patients who have run out of options, many with complicated conditions, such as chronic pain. She also draws patients who have no insurance and little means to pay. She takes anyone willing to pay her $50 in cash — making it difficult for her to afford a nurse, secretary or a lawyer to handle her case, she said.

Thirty of Konopka’s patients have written Kissinger, hoping to convince him to reconsider his ruling.

Source Concord Monitor

Also see
Doctor, 84, Who Doesn’t Use Computer Won’t Get License Back in Medscape
A defiant country doctor fights for her license and a disappearing style of medicine
Digital Solutionism and the Crisis of Global Capitalism in Open Mind
The good thing about older MDs in White Coat, Black Art CBC Radio
What a Technophobe Doctor Shows About Future of Work in Bloomberg View

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