Howard Schneider pleads not guilty to Medicaid fraud
Judge orders pediatric dentist to appear at arraignment
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – An attorney for Dr. Howard S. Schneider entered a not guilty plea Monday at the pediatric dentist's arraignment on 11 counts of Medicaid fraud and one count of schemes to defraud.
Schneider, 78, had waived his appearance at previous hearings, but Judge Angela Cox last month said she would not hold a arraignment without the defendant in the courtroom.
Schneider's attorney on Monday also entered a motion to dismiss the charges, and Cox set a hearing for 2:30 p.m. Tuesday to discuss. Schneider remains free on $110,000 bond and is now living in St. Simons Island, Ga.
The state claims the pediatric dentist billed Medicaid hundreds of thousands of dollars for procedures he didn’t actually perform. Parents claim that the pediatric dentist abused children.
Included in the state's evidence gathered for the fraud case are nearly a dozen similar accounts from parents telling investigators what they and their kids experienced in Schneider’s office:
That man doctor threw me."
"He choked me and pulled my teeth."
"They’re lying to you"
The Office of the Attorney General Medicaid Fraud Control Unit interviewed them as a part of its investigation into the pediatric dentist who is accused of abusing his patients and of Medicaid fraud. Parents of Schneider's patients recounted hearing screams, children injured for procedures, and children getting procedures the parents didn't even know about.
Parents reported their children's lips were bruised, their kids were very scared, and one patient was found face first on the floor.
One parent told investigators they took their child to Schneider's office for a procedure they were told would only take 30 minutes. After three hours, they went to the window three times, and an assistant finally told them there was an incident.
When the parent was finally able to see the child, he or she was hyperventilating and had marks, scratches and blood all over.
According to one document, Schneider’s assistant told the person the child was on a papoose board and, “We stepped out, came back and he/she was face first on the floor.”
But the child had a different story, telling investigators: “They’re lying to you. That man doctor threw me and that lady picked me up when I was on the board, and she was laughing at me and sat on me and choked me.”
The parent told investigators, “I saw that my baby was missing all his/her teeth.”
The documents also include what experts told investigators about Schneider, including:
- His consent form is too general, and he should get consent from parents before performing additional procedures.
- His charts had poor progress notes.
- The quality of work performed on the patients was low and below standards of care.
- The type and amount of sedation that Schneider was using on the children was very mild and would not be strong enough for a child three years or older.
One dentist who treated patients after they had seen Schneider told investigators, "It was like if Dr. Schneider had done crowns, the crown was gone. If Schneider had done a filling, the filling was gone."
DOCUMENTS IN EVIDENCE IN SCHNEIDER CASE:
"Now the defense gets a chance to really see what the state has. They have shown their cards. These are their cards, and now the defense will have an opportunity to play those cards and see what they can do and how they can defend Dr. Schneider," said Gene Nichols, an attorney not affiliated with this case.
Schneider is also facing civil lawsuits from former patients.
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