AUGUSTA — A physician who worked at MaineGeneral Medical Center’s Alfond Cancer Center for more than six years has agreed to an immediate suspension of her medical license following allegations she was writing narcotics prescriptions for herself for years using colleagues’ credentials.

Dr. Robin E. Locke, 42, of Readfield, is no longer employed at MaineGeneral Medical Center, according to Joy Mckenna, hospital spokeswoman, who said in an email that the hospital was unable to comment further on Locke. Walter McKee, Locke’s attorney, said she resigned from the hospital.

However, in response to a question about whether patients were in jeopardy, McKenna said, “Patients of the Harold Alfond Center for Cancer Care receive care that is team-based and with a myriad of checks and balances. Each patient’s care is reviewed by interdisciplinary teams either through tumor board, interdisciplinary clinics or other expert clinical team reviews.”

In addition, she noted that computer programs are in place to help direct care and that “all chemotherapy is double-checked with specialty pharmacists.”

McKee, who represented Locke to help craft an “interim consent agreement for license suspension,” said no criminal charges are pending.

“Robin is a wonderful, caring, thoughtful doctor and person and she is doing everything she can to deal with a very difficult situation,” McKee said via email. “I am convinced that she will come through all of this an even stronger person than she already is.”

A phone message left for Locke at her home was not returned.

The license suspension agreement is between Locke and the state’s Board of Licensure in Medicine and forestalls the need for the board to summarily suspend her license and hold an adjudicatory hearing within 30 days.

Locke signed the agreement last month.

It also says MaineGeneral sent the board a notice March 17, 2017, indicating it “had received a report of unprofessional conduct alleging that Dr. Locke for a period of approximately two years had been writing prescriptions for herself for controlled substances under the name and credentials of a MGMC colleague.”

The hospital placed Locke on “precautionary suspension” March 10, 2017.

Later that same colleague — a physician — reported that a review of his prescriptions in a prescription monitoring program, showed about “109 prescriptions for Dr. Locke for oxycodone, oxycontin, alprazolam and lorazepam” written under his Drug Enforcement Agency number between January 2013 and February 2017. The agency regulates the handling of controlled substances. While oxycodone and oxycontin are pain killers, alprazolam and lorazepam are typically used to treat anxiety.

The review also showed some 38 prescriptions for Locke for oxycodone and oxycontin from an certified nurse practitioner between March and December 2012.

Both the physician and the nurse practitioner said Locke was never their patient.

The board, in a press release, said the consent agreement is in lieu of a summary suspension and “is based upon the imminent jeopardy posed by Dr. Locke’s continued practice of medicine as a result of her allegedly writing prescriptions for controlled substances for herself by using the name and credentials of another physician.”

The agreement says that Locke emailed MaineGeneral Medical Center on March 9, 2017, to say “she had enrolled herself in a rehabilitation program and was seeking assistance in managing narcotic use.” The program was not specified.

The Maine Medical Association offers the Medical Professionals Health Program which aids health care professionals in substance abuse as well as mental health recovery. Those eligible for services include dentists and other dental professionals, nurses, pharmacists, physicians, physician assistants, veterinarians and students in those programs. The program’s goals include “safeguarding the health of medical professionals and protecting the public.” The 2015 annual report indicates 84 cases — 29 of them physicians — were started in 2015, with a fifth of the new referrals “found to have no medical, substance abuse, or psychological criteria for participation” and 35 new participants enrolled in a monitoring program.

Locke graduated in 2002 from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in Bronx, New York, with specialties in hematology, internal medicine and oncology. She has been licensed as a medial doctor in Maine since May 2009, and her license is due to expire in September 2018.

Published reports indicate Locke was hired by Franklin Memorial Hospital as part of its cancer care team in May 2011. In doing so, she joined a number of other staff members from the Harold Alfond Center for Cancer Care who also were on the staff at Franklin Memorial.

Locke’s license status is reported as “suspended” on a website operated by the Association of State Medical Board Executive Directors.

Betty Adams — 621-5631

[email protected]

Twitter: @betadams

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