Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Can You Be Too Old To Practice Medicine? There's An Answer For That.

Isn't this easier than paper charting?

New Hampshire physician Anna Konopka, MD  has had her state medical license revoked. After practicing for 55 years, the 84 year old doctor says she is not able to maintain electronic medical records as required by the medical board. She still writes out by hand her patient charts and keep them in file cabinets. Even her typewriter is broken. The state requires that doctors use a prescription drug monitoring program on patients to cut down on opioid abuse and deaths.

However Dr. Konopka says she doesn't have any problems with writing out pain prescriptions by hand to her patients who need pain relief, "Bureaucrats who don't know medicine--they are getting this kind of idea that they can handle this type of pain without narcotics. I prescribe a small amount of OxyContin and they are doing beautifully."

She adamantly refuses to be drawn into the electronic age, "Even if I knew how to use the electronic system, I would be unwilling. I cannot compromise the patient's health or life for a system. I refuse to."

On the other hand the medical board says they are revoking her medical license because of poor medical judgement. A young girl with asthma came to see her with tachycardia. The state maintains she did not perform any follow up tests or refer her to a specialist. Her reaction was, "I'm not sending sending my patients to this doctor and this doctor. I treat everything. I have enough experience and can treat any disease."

So who is telling the truth? Is the state taking away Dr. Konopka's license because as she believes she can't or won't start using electronic medical records? Or is her medical judgement so poor that she is a danger to her patients? There's an easy way to answer that. Why not have her take a Maintenance of Certification exam to see if she is still retaining a minimal level of competency to treat patients? After all, isn't that what the ABMS designed the MOC to do, ensure physicians have a certain level of knowledge so that they're not a danger to their patients?

Oh but wait, Dr. Konopka has probably had her board certification grandfathered in. She has not taken a medical exam in fifty years. The ABMS in their infinite wisdom say that the young and most recently trained physicians are subject to their extortion while the older doctors who haven't cracked a medical text in decades get a pass. This again shows the inadequacy of the entire MOC process and how it is just a revenue raising means for the medical boards to sustain their lavish expenses. Any wonder most doctors think the MOC is the biggest scam in medicine?

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