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New London family doctor, 85, says state forced her to give up medical license

By MARK HAYWARD
New Hampshire Union Leader

September 25. 2017 9:06PM
Dr. Anna M. Konopka, who opened a pediatric and internal medicine practice in New Hampshire in 1989, has never been sued for malpractice in the state, according to the Board of Medicine. (DAVID LANE/UNION LEADER)

An 85-year-old New London physician said Monday that she has been forced to surrender her medical license because of a system that values electronic medicine over professional judgment, and favors expensive specialists over individualized care.

The Board of Medicine announced Monday that Dr. Anna M. Konopka, a solo practitioner family doctor, had agreed two weeks ago to voluntarily surrender her license in light of an investigation into her record-keeping, prescribing practices and medical decision-making.

Konopka, who must stop seeing patients on Oct. 13, said the issue is a system that has grown too computerized and cut-throat. She has been under attack for four years, she said; she believes New London Hospital wants her patients.

A spokesman for New London Hospital did not provide a response to her allegation.

Konopka said she charges $50 for an office visit. She treats patients who can’t afford Obamacare and expensive prescriptions. She has no nurse, no assistant, no secretary.

“I cannot practice medicine because the system practices with electronics. The computer is giving the diagnosis and telling them what medicine to prescribe,” said Konopka. “They practice medicine, and I practice medical art. They manage the patient, and I treat the patient.”

Konopka has been licensed in New Hampshire for 49 years. She is practicing out of an office adjacent to her Pleasant Lake home.

Penny Taylor, the administrator for the board, said state law limits what she and board members can say. The law also prevents the release of the now-closed investigation.

Konopka said she signed the agreement because she was told if she didn’t she would lose her license right away and not have the opportunity to treat her patients a final time. She refused to sign any agreement in which she admitted to misconduct, she said.

Under the terms of the surrender, Konopka can get her license back. But she would have to start as a new applicant, and she would have to address the allegations of record-keeping, prescribing and medical decision-making.

Last May, Konopka accepted a Board of Medicine reprimand over her treatment of a child suffering from asthma. The reprimand faulted her for not recording the patient’s weight and height, for leaving dosing decisions up to the child’s parents, and for ordering a prescription for bronchitis without consulting a specialist.

Konopka said she had been treating the child since infancy, and the problem at hand cleared up in three days.

She has never been sued for malpractice in New Hampshire, according to the Board of Medicine.

Konopka said she sees 25 to 30 patients a week.

Many patients turn to her after local hospitals give elaborate diagnoses and prescribe therapy and specialist treatment that does little good, she said.

A patient wrote the Attorney General’s Office to say that Konopka successfully addressed her fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue, allowing her to return to work full-time.

“I know for a fact that her patients adore her, both for her knowledge of the healing arts as well as her bedside manner and her genuine concern for her patients,” wrote Newport resident Lynn Boudreau.

According to her resume, Konopka has practiced in hospitals in Brooklyn, the Bronx, and Suffolk County, N.Y., and Jersey City, N.J. She opened a pediatric and internal medicine practice in New Hampshire in 1989.

Konopka, who speaks quietly with a soft Polish accent, graduated from the Medical Academy in Krakow, Poland. She said the United States medical system is approaching that of communism.

“It’s fine if you are with the system. If you are not,” she said, “you are an enemy of the system.”

mhayward@unionleader.com

The agreement between the state and Konopka can be viewed below:



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