ARCATA, CA. (KIEM) – A Humboldt County Doctor is being investigated by the Medical Board of California for prescribing opioid medication to patients living with chronic pain. The doctor is speaking out, and sat down with Redwood News to tell her side of the story.
Dr. Connie Basch has a medical practice in Arcata. She is a physician who cares about her patients. She tells us, she gives her patients opioid medication to help them by lowering their intake. She does this knowingly that she could be questioned about it.
“I am prescribing opioids, because there are people who’ve been on them literally for decades and who need those medicines and cannot taper quickly,” said Dr. Connie Basch who is currently being investigated by The Medical Board of California.
The Medical Board of California has given her three choices. She could give up her license, continue to practice but under probation or have a court hearing. Basch wants to have a hearing, but according to her, that would cost $150,000.
“Most of my pain patients are either Partnership or Medicare and Medi-Cal. So they’re disabled people, low-income. That means I get paid very little for their care. That would be more than three years worth of my income,” said Basch.
Basch puts her patients before herself. The amount she helps someone lessen their opioid addiction is an understatement.
“When I came here, I was on 500 milligrams of time release morphine a day. And that’s a lot. And I’m now down to 20 milligrams a day. Ten in the morning, ten at night.” Said Gil Houck, a Patient of Dr. Basch.
Gil Houck is a patient of Basch. She thinks that if the Medical Board of California shuts down Basch’s practice, people will try to get opioids from other sources.
“If people can’t find a doctor who will prescribe pain medication, they will be on the streets looking for it,” said Basch.
Even patients who don’t need pain medication still advocate for Basch and the way she treats her profession.
“She’s like a Gandhi in the medical field,”said Kathe Lyth another patient of Dr. Basch.
Dr. Basch wants to have a second chance and state her case to the Medical Board.
“What I’m hoping is that they will allow me a second interview, and a chance to explain myself without spending that much money,” said Basch.
As for now, Dr. Basch’s practice is still open, and she is currently prescribing opioid medication to her chronic pain patients.