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Police chief confirms doctor fighting to keep license under investigation

By MARK HAYWARD
New Hampshire Union Leader

December 11. 2017 8:42PM
Dr. Anna Konopka 



Dr. Anna Konopka, the 84-year-old doctor who is battling the surrender of her medical license, is under police investigation for a matter involving drugs, according to the police chief in her town of New London.

Konopka, who has gone to Merrimack County Superior Court to reverse her license surrender, said she was unaware of any investigation until contacted by a reporter last week.

She subsequently spoke to New London Police Chief Edward Andersen, and said he assured her the investigation does not involve her practice. “I have a feeling, all the attacks against me, it is organized,” Konopka said.

Last week, Andersen said department records show that Konopka is under investigation in a case involving drugs. A detective has been assigned; it is currently an open case in the investigatory phase, he said.

“I’d love to tell you,” Andersen said. But he said he cannot divulge details in an open case. Nor would he say how long the investigation has been going on.

Konopka said police would not provide her with details, other than to say the investigation does not involve her practice. After 49 years of practice in New Hampshire, Konopka discontinued seeing patients in late October, under terms of the license surrender.

Konopka said her only other run-in with the law was two years ago. Someone arrested in Claremont was in possession a bottle of opioid pain medicine belonging to a Konopka patient.

Konopka said the patient was a boyfriend of the person stopped by police.

According to Konopka, a police officer called and wanted to drop off the bottle at her office. She resisted, but told him to place it in the office mailbox if he must. Police subsequently filed a complaint that claimed she was using her mailbox to distribute prescription drugs, she said.

Konopka said the Board of Medicine investigated and dropped the case. Board administrator Penny Taylor said she could not say anything about a closed case, and all records are confidential under state law.

Konopka said she would never leave opioids in a mailbox, and she dispensed no medicine from her office.

Claremont Police Chief Mark Chase said the incident — which is unrelated to the current investigation — took place on April 20, 2016. Police arrested a person for driving without a license and found an empty pill bottle in the person’s possession.

According to the prescription label, the 28-day supply of 30 milligrams of oxycodone had been filled five days previously, he said.

He said the police officer, who no longer works for his department, telephoned Konopka to discuss it. The doctor wouldn’t confirm the prescription or share further information with the officer, Chase said.

“He didn’t get sufficient answers from the doctor, so he reported it to the Board of Medicine,” Chase said. “There’s no reason someone should have your opioid-medicine empty pill bottle with them.”

Chase said the Board of Medicine never got back to him about the complaint. The Claremont police case file makes no note of the officer wanting to drop off a prescription bottle with Konopka, Chase said.

Konopka surrendered her license after Board of Medicine officials confronted her with issues regarding record-keeping, prescribing practices and medical decision-making, according to a Board of Medicine notice issued at the time.

Under state law, physicians must contact the New Hampshire Prescription Drug Monitoring Program online to determine if patients are receiving opioid prescriptions from other physicians.

She has readily admitted that she does not use a computer and had no staff at her private practice.

Konopka has maintained that pharmacists, other physicians and other patients tell her if a patient is abusing the system, and she has dropped three patients for doing so.

She said she prescribed low levels of narcotics when necessary because it is difficult to treat patients for other ailments such as high blood pressure or infections if they suffer from chronic pain. She said patients who come to her from pain clinics are often on high amounts of opioids, which she reduces.

She has said she surrendered her license under duress and has asked a judge to revoke the surrender. Superior Court Judge John Kissinger refused to do so on Nov. 15.

Konopka has since asked him to reconsider and filed affidavits from 30 patients in support of her.

mhayward@unionleader.com


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