In the State of New Hampshire, Merrimack Superior Court Judge John Kissinger has refused to allow a physician's request to regain her medical license, which was revoked last September. And a key component to that decision is because the doctor is adamantly opposed to utilizing computerized software for clinical recordkeeping and prescription tracking.
The New Hampshire State Medical Board had found serious flaws in the medical recordkeeping of Doctor Anna Konopka last summer. But they were truly alarmed when they learned she was not using the state's mandatory electronic drug monitoring program - a requirement which allows narcotic prescriptions to be tracked, to flag drug abusers.
Konopka, age 84, surrendered her medical license in October, but later asked the judge to reconsider his decision. Until the judgement is reversed, she cannot treat the 25 regular patients she sees each week - all of whom pay cash.
Konopka has no computer in her office and has no idea how to use one. She functions with a desk, 2 filing cabinets and an old telephone. She has no office staff and no nurse. The clinic is a tiny house in the village of New London, population 4,000. The house was built during the Abraham Lincoln administration. She says Lincoln didn't have a computer either.
According to the state medical board, complaints against Konopka started when they learned that she would allow, for example, parents of a sick child to decide what the medication doses should be. Their choice. Somehow that just seemed . . . well, wrong.
As months went by in 2017 more complaints were filed, and the medical board pulled her license to practice after a disciplinary hearing. You know medicine. They're nothing if not sticklers for patient records.
Konopka has many loyal patients and more than a few have written to the medical board pleading to have her back seeing them again as soon as possible. Many have no insurance at all, and happily pay her flat fee of $50. The whole idea of detailed note-taking seems a bit over-the-top to them.
"I'm fighting to get my license back," the elderly doctor says. "I have some hope."