Healthcare Fraud: The Schneider Pill Mill Case Part 1

The Schneider Pill Mill case won the title of 2010 Investigation of the Year from the NHCAA.

Posted by Joe Gerard in Healthcare on December 6th, 2010

This case was granted the award for the NHCAA 2010 Investigation of the Year. Public and private analysts worked together to indict Steve and Linda Schneider. This post focuses on the background information in the case. Monday’s post will outline elements of the investigation and the results of the trial that was held in June. It was quite the experience to hear a first hand account of the events from those involved in the investigation. It also surprised me how difficult it is to prosecute someone in this type of case, even though it seems like all of the evidence is obvious. Here’s what I learned about the Schneider’s and their clinic:

The Schneider Pill Mill Case

Background Information:

Steve Schneider and his wife Linda opened up a clinic in a small town outside of Wichita, Kansas. Although Schneider wasn’t a pain specialist, majority of the patients he saw were there for pain management services. Linda, his wife was an LPN.  Schneider was a general practitioner who wrote prescriptions for pain medications for patients complaining of severe pain and other issues. The medication was usually prescribed in large quantities and frequent doses. Prescriptions were often written and filled when requested, violating the specified wait period before a prescription could be renewed or refilled.

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The presenters and investigators also informed us that Schneider often prescribed drugs to patients that were far too potent to treat the problems patients complained about. For example, a pain relief drug usually given to cancer patients in the form of a lollipop was being prescribed to teens complaining of menstrual cramps.

The Schneider’s realized that more volume leads to more money, so they started focusing on how many patients they could push through in a day. Schneider was billing around 100 patients per day, which obviously isn’t a traditional medical practice. These numbers signify that the clinic was turning into a patient mill. Steve was the only full time doctor there and wasn’t qualified in pain management. The clinic was open 7 days a week and patients were scheduled 10 minutes apart with walk ins welcome. To squeeze in patients (focusing quantity over quality), they were usually only asked “what do you need?” and a prescription was written.

Medical charts were often missing. Providers were treating patients without knowing their background or what they were there for. Files were lacking important info and were all over the office. Some patients could even be found trading drugs in the clinic and in the parking lot. The physician’s assistants were usually just students who had recently graduated and were looking for work, not realizing what they were getting themselves into. Numerous reports even state that Schneider was known as the “Candy Man” because it was so easy to get a prescription for narcotic drugs from him.

Consequences:

  • 100+ overdoes admissions to the ER, over 68 overdose related deaths.
  • 18% of the OD deaths in the county over a 4 year period were related to Schneider’s clinic.
  • Schneider was being investigated by a board in Kansas, but they had failed to revoke his license.

Stay tuned for Tuesday’s post. I’ll be sharing my notes on the investigation and indictment of the Schneider’s, as presented by the investigation team at the 2010 NHCAA Healthcare Anti-Fraud Training Conference.


Joe Gerard
Joe Gerard

CEO, i-Sight

Spend my days showing off the i-Sight investigative case management software and finding ways to help clients improve their investigations. Usually working with corporate security, HR & employee relations, compliance and legal teams.

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