LEWISTON — A local doctor was reprimanded by the state earlier this week for prescribing painkillers to patients without following proper protocols.
In an agreement with the Maine Board of Licensure in Medicine, Dr. Keng-cheong Leong agreed to limit his practice to office-based gynecology. He won't prescribe narcotics for treatment of chronic pain.
Leong also agreed not to prescribe controlled substances for more than a 10-day period to gynecology patients who experience acute pain or anxiety.
Leong was licensed in Maine in 1973, specializing in obstetrics and gynecology.
He slipped and fell in 2009 and injured his shoulder and back, according to public documents. He eventually gave up his medical specialty "due to continuing pain and safety concern for his patients," he wrote to the Maine Board of Licensure in Medicine.
Since then, he had been treating male and female patients in a general practice, he told the board.
Last year, shortly before his state medical license expired, the board received information from a pharmacist who said he recently filled a prescription written by Leong for the painkiller OxyContin for a male patient.
The pharmacist knew Leong practiced as a gynecologist and called the doctor about the prescription. Leong confirmed he had been treating the male patient for back pain.
The state's board subpoenaed Leong's medical records for the male patient he had been treating. The man had been a walk-in patient from out of state. Leong said he tried to refer the man to physical therapy and a pain-control clinic.
Records showed Leong failed to follow proper protocols for treating chronic pain. He also failed to explain in his records why he continued to prescribe narcotics to the patient, even though he knew that patient had a primary care doctor in a different state.
After initiating a complaint against Leong, the board subpoenaed medical records of three other male patients and four female patients.
The board's medical director talked to Leong by phone several times about his lack of experience in treating chronic pain and switching from his specialty to general practice.
Leong said he was “naive” when it came to patients requesting narcotics and admitted the board had sufficient evidence to conclude he engaged in unprofessional conduct by prescribing narcotic pain medication without conducting and documenting appropriate medical histories, examinations and plans.
Leong said that even though MaineCare allowed him to serve as a primary care doctor, he had no specific medical training in that area of practice.