KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Kansas Doctor And Wife Found Guilty Of Prescribing Painkillers, Causing Deaths

The Associated Press/Wall Street Journal: "A federal jury Thursday found a Kansas doctor and his wife guilty of conspiring to profit from illegally prescribing painkillers to dozens of patients who later died, in a case highlighting medical treatment of chronic pain sufferers and prescription drug abuse." Stephen Schneider and his wife, Linda, were convicted "of a moneymaking conspiracy prosecutors say was linked to 68 overdose deaths. They were directly charged in 21 of the deaths. ... The government accused Schneider of being little more than a drug dealer who did not carefully monitor cases, prescribed excessive dosages and wrote prescriptions so freely he became known among some patients as the 'Candy Man.' Prosecutors said the couple did not alter their practices even after getting notices their patients were turning up in emergency rooms and at the morgue following overdoses"(6/24).

WIBC Indianapolis: "A new scam is targeting diabetic Medicare beneficiaries across Indiana, according to the Indiana Association of Area Agencies on Aging (IAAAA). Scammers have been telephoning beneficiaries from a Florida phone number (737) 786-9211, claiming to be from Medicare or what sounds like 'Med-care'. Complaints of similar calls have been reported from every area code in Indiana. The callers initially seem legitimate because they already know the beneficiary's name, doctor and medical condition" (Wambach, 6/24).

WRTV Indianapolis: "Tamra Simpson, a program director for Senior Medicare Patrol, said that recipients from all over the state have been receiving the calls. … Simpson said that the caller then asks beneficiaries for their Medicare number, maiden name of the patient's parent and, sometimes, the patients' date of birth" (6/24).

The Associated Press/Dallas Morning News: "The south Texas oral surgeon at the center of a federal Medicaid fraud case said Thursday the charges this week surprised him, even though he was warned of the investigation 18 months before. Dr. Gary Schwarz declared his innocence and called the charges a 'complete shock.' … Federal investigators arrested Schwarz on health care fraud charges Tuesday, alleging that he billed Medicaid for services not rendered and for some that he didn't perform himself. Two members of his office staff also were charged. Prosecutors say a related kickback scheme funneled money back to five area dentists for referrals of Medicaid patients" (Sherman, 6/24). This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.