Doctor’s license suspended

By Katherine Wartell

The Kansas State Board of Healing Arts has indefinitely suspended the medical license of the Manhattan physician accused of running a pill mill following his arrest.

The decision to suspend Michael Schuster’s license came Thursday, along with a public censure of the 53-year-old doctor.

Schuster who operated Manhattan Pain and Spine, 1135 Westport Drive, and facing federal charges for authorizing unlicensed staff members to prescribe painkillers and antidepressants to 542 patients while he was out of the country.

Authorities are investigating a possible connection to several patient overdoses and even possible deaths among Fort Riley soldiers and their family members who were patients of Schuster.

In a criminal complaint, it is alleged that staff members had easy access to pre-signed prescription pads and prescribed such controlled substances as Oxycontin, Vicodin and Adderall following cursory examinations or at the request of the patient.

Schuster is the only physician employed at the clinic and was the only staff member authorized to issue prescriptions, though Schuster voluntarily surrendered the license allowing him to do so, officials said.

He has 15 days to request a hearing in response to the board’s decision before the order becomes final.

Schuster is temporarily confined without bond pending a detention hearing next Tuesday when a judge will determine if he is a flight risk. If so, Schuster would be kept in custody until his trial.

Federal prosecutors argued for the temporary detention during Schuster’s initial appearance Wednesday, saying he has sufficient financial resources overseas, a home in Paraguay and two passports.

Schuster’s Tuesday arrest at the Manhattan Regional Airport came after a several-hours-long raid of his Manhattan clinic, though an investigation into his clinic began in 2012.

He is charged with one count of conspiracy to illegally distribute controlled substances.

He pleaded not guilty to that charge on Wednesday.

If convicted, Schuster faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison and a fine up to $1 million, but officials said if death or bodily injury are found to have resulted from the crime, the penalty will not be less than 20 years.

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