LEWISTON — Keng-cheong Leong, M.D., a local gynecologist, surrendered his medical license to Maine’s Board of Licensure in Medicine on Tuesday after the board found he had been issuing medical marijuana certificates to male patients.
Leong, whose office is on Main Street, has had his practice limited to office-based gynecology since 2011 after a separate disciplinary action before the Board of Licensure.
In the earlier case, a pharmacist who knew Leong was licensed to practice OB/GYN received a prescription for Oxycontin for a male patient and had called Leong to confirm it was correct. Leong told the pharmacist, and later the board, that he had been treating the man, who lived out of state, for some time for back pain.
Based on that information, and information from the Prescription Monitoring Program that Leong was treating multiple male patients, Leong was reprimanded and agreed to restrict his practice to in-office gynecology and to stop prescribing narcotics.
Earlier this year, the board received information that Leong had been issuing medical marijuana certificates to 49 male patients, had not been performing appropriate examinations, had not been creating appropriate medical records and had been seeing patients at marijuana dispensaries and other “unorthodox” sites instead of an office.
According to the consent decree, when the board asked Leong to produce medical records for these patients, he explained that he had been approached by a person he did not name and had been asked to issue certificates for medical marijuana even though he was semi-retired at the time.
Leong told the board that he thought issuing certificates would be consistent with his “inclination for holistic treatment” and that he saw the value in treating patients with medical marijuana rather than narcotics.
He saw patients at the Holistic Center, where he worked as an independent contractor to issue certificates to male and female patients, according to the consent decree.
In a written statement to the board, Leong explained that the physical exams he performed varied from patient to patient, depending on patients’ complaints, and that he reviewed medical records brought in by patients before issuing the certificates.
Those records were kept at the Holistic Center, which also did the patient billing.
According to the consent decree, Leong told the board he kept medical histories brief because he was not treating patients’ overall medical conditions and “understood (his) role to be limited to managing their use of medical marijuana.”
As part of its investigation, the board obtained copies of medical records for Leong’s male patients and found that he had not obtained or documented basic vital signs for most of those patients, did not perform any physical exams, nor recorded treatment plans, including “potential interaction of marijuana with other medications already prescribed to patients,” according to the decree, including one patient who was being treated for asthma and another who was on antipsychotic medications.
Maine laws governing the use of medical marijuana require physicians to follow strict guidelines when certifying patients for use, which Leong did not do.
Leong signed the consent decree rather than be subject to an adjudicatory hearing on his license, admitting that the board had sufficient evidence to conclude he engaged in unprofessional conduct and incompetent medical care, and that he violated the terms of his 2011 agreement, according to the consent decree.
This action, which cannot be appealed, bans Leong from practicing medicine in Maine. He is required to repay the board $928.80, which was the cost of its investigation.
Leong earned his medical degree from the National Taiwan University in Taipei in 1968 and was first licensed to practice in Maine in 1973.
All board disciplinary actions are reported to the National Practitioner Data Bank, the Health Integrity and Protection Data Bank and the Federation of State Medical Boards Action Data Bank.
These reports are regularly reviewed by every state licensing board in the country.
Leong is board certified in obstetrics and gynecology, specializing in treating hot flashes and menopause.