Official: more than 80 Schneider patients treated for overdoses

WICHITA — More than 80 patients who said they were under the care of physician Stephen Schneider showed up at a Wichita emergency room for drug overdoses during three years.

That was far more than any other physician, an official from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services testified this morning.

Stephen Schneider and his wife, Linda, are on trial this week charged with 34 criminal counts related to their Haysville medical clinic.

Perry Seaton said he ran statistical analysis for Health and Human Services on insurance claims filed by the Schneider Medical Clinic.

On cross-examination by Lawrence Williamson, who represents Stephen Schneider, Seaton said he hadn't seen documents to directly tie the patients to the doctor.

Seaton said data from Via Christi Regional Medical Center's emergency rooms were tied to doctors who the patients claimed were their primary care physician.

Based on that, Seaton told the jury that 84 patients were treated for drug overdoses from 2003-2006. Another doctor at Schneider's clinic accounted for 10 overdose patients, Seaton testified.

That accounted for about 10 percent of 984 patients from 191 doctors treated for overdoses.

But on cross-examination, Seaton couldn't say how many of those patients were still being treated by Stephen Schneider at the time of their overdoses, or whether they were seeing physicians assistants at his clinic.

Seaton also said Schneider's clinic billed services that sometimes surpassed the number of hours in a day.

Based on the time it takes to complete services, Seaton said insurance claims billed for a single day of services surpassed 24 hours 18 times.

On more than 180 other days, Seaton contended the services billed for a single day would have required 15 to 23 hours.

During times Stephen Schneider was out of town, Seaton said the clinic billed insurance companies, including Medicare and Medicaid, more than $66,000 for medical services. It was paid more than $32,000 in claims for those days.

For the defense, Williamson asked Seaton whether anything tied those claims to Schneider himself or a computer he used while out of town.

Seaton said he could only say that the insurance companies received the claims through the clinic's electronic billing codes.

Federal financial investigator Robert Hawkins said the Schneiders received $4.24 million from insurance payments. The rest came from co-pays and the uninsured.

In 2002, before the clinic opened, Schneider's medical practice grossed about $50,000, he said.

From 2002 to 2006, the Schneiders withdrew more than $1.4 million from the clinic.

Under cross-examination by Williamson, Hawkins said the Schneiders' bank deposits were consistent with their tax returns. The $1.4 million would have given the Schneiders a combined income of about $350,000 a year from the clinic.

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