Former Schneider clinic workers say they were told to falsify records

WICHITA — Two former employees at the Schneider Medical Clinic told a jury this morning that they were asked to falsify patient records.

Angela Dunnavent, who worked at the clinic from late 2003 to early 2004, testified that she was asked to bill insurance companies for services not provided.

Dunnavent said she was instructed by Linda Schneider to falsify billing and also to fill in missing vital signs in patient records.

During the four months she worked at the clinic, Dunnavent reported seeing numerous fax transmissions from hospitals about patient overdoses.

Dunnavent also testified that she received phone calls from other doctors' offices suspecting patients of getting multiple prescriptions for narcotics from more than one doctor.

Each time, Dunnavent said she would put a note in the patient files. She also testified that she noticed sometimes those notes would disappear.

Jamie Hilliard also testified that patients would crowd into the clinic, as word spread that it was an easy place to get prescriptions for narcotics.

It was the first testimony tying Linda Schneider to the management of her husband's medical practice.

Stephen and Linda Schneider are charged with 34 counts in connection with prescription practices for painkillers at their Haysville clinic. They could face 20 years or more in prison if convicted of violating federal drug laws, health care fraud and money laundering.

Hilliard worked at the medical clinic from 2002, the year it opened, until 2004.

She said she found missing vital signs in patient charts. When she told Linda Schneider about it, "She told me to just fill in the blanks."

Hilliard said the clinic was often overwhelmed by patients.

"The amount of patients there, it felt like herding them in like sheep,'' she said.

Hilliard estimated she saw Stephen Schneider spend as little as five minutes with a patient before writing a prescription for narcotics.

Hilliard said Linda Schneider told her: "If anyone tells anyone what was going on at the clinic, they would go down with her."

Hilliard also testified she quit the clinic in 2004 because "I didn't want to go to jail for what was happening."

On cross-examination by the defense, Hilliard said she saw patients being treated for other ailments besides pain management. Hilliard said Schneider referred patients to other physicians for diagnostic testing and sent people to physical therapy.

Prosecutors this morning also submitted records of drug screenings from the Schneider clinic.

Out of 76 patients who received prescriptions from the clinic, 32 were never tested for levels of narcotics in their urine. There were 13 patients who failed at least one drug screen and 24 who failed multiple urine tests.

Prosecutors said clinic health care providers should have used the test to know that some patients were abusing drugs.

Records show 32 patients who had no drug screens, or failed them, died of drug overdoses, prosecutors say.