WICHITA | A Kansas doctor accused of illegally prescribing drugs linked to 68 deaths testified that he knew some patients had died from overdoses, but he said his clinic changed its practices to prevent future overdoses.
Stephen Schneider and his wife, Linda, were charged in a 34-count indictment with illegally prescribing drugs and committing health care fraud and money laundering. Schneider testified in his own defense Wednesday and returned to the stand today to undergo cross examination by a federal prosecutor.
When Assistant U.S. Attorney Tanya Treadway asked Schneider whether he knew that people who received prescriptions from him had died, he said, "I know of some."
When Treadway questioned him about notices he received from emergency room doctors, the medical examiner, hospital faxes and law enforcement, he again said he was aware of some of them. He said he did not know whether he had attempted to determine the circumstances of the overdose deaths.
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Treadway also tried to cast doubt on the doctor's claim during his Wednesday testimony that the reason his clinic was overwhelmed with 10,000 patients was because it was one of the few in the area that accepted lower-paying Medicaid patients. The defense has tried to portray Schneider as a caring physician who took in indigent patients who had nowhere else to go.
But Treadway pointed out today that 320 other providers in the area took Medicaid patients. She also showed the doctor a letter sent to Medicaid in October 2005 in which his clinic informed the agency it would no longer accept new Medicaid patients.