Wichita — The attorney for a Kansas doctor whose clinic is linked to 68 overdose deaths tried Thursday to discredit the government investigator who analyzed data on insurance payments and emergency room visits by the clinic’s patients.
Dr. Stephen Schneider and his wife, Linda, are accused of conspiring to illegally dispense prescription drugs, defrauding health insurance programs and patients, and money laundering.
Much of the testimony Thursday concerned 12 boxes of records and more than 300,000 lines of electronic information analyzed by Perry Seaton of the Department of Health and Human Services’ inspector general’s office.
Seaton testified that his data showed government programs and private insurance companies paid more than $6 million to pharmacies for prescriptions written at their Haysville clinic, with 22 percent of those being Medicaid patients. The 93 government and private insurance programs paid the clinic more than $4 million for office visits and other services — about 69 percent of the clinic’s income.
An analysis showed claims billed for Dr. Schneider’s services were for 51 days in which he was out of town. A time study indicated that over another 19 days claims billed for his services would have amounted to more than 24 hours a day, he said. The same data showed 27 percent of the claims attributed to Schneider’s services would have meant he worked 12 hours or more per day.
But under questioning by defense attorney Lawrence Williamson, Seaton said he could produce no document that proved Schneider personally submitted any claims. He also acknowledged it is not uncommon for most doctors to not know how to use a complicated billing system, saying that work is typically performed by other staff.
Even so, Seaton insisted the doctor is ultimately responsible because he is the one to whom payment is made.
On cross-examination, Seaton calculated that the number of overdoses linked to the clinic — even assuming all could be attributed to Schneider himself and not his numerous physician assistants — represented fewer than 1 percent of their 10,000 patients.