- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 14, 2009

WICHITA, KAN. (AP) - The head of a patients advocacy group says she’s being investigated by a federal grand jury for her role in the case of a Kansas doctor whose clinic prosecutors have linked to 59 overdose deaths.

Siobhan Reynolds, president of the Santa Fe, N.M.-based Pain Relief Network, said Monday that the grand jury in Topeka ordered her to provide by Wednesday all correspondence and other documents related to the case against Dr. Stephen Schneider and his wife Linda, including her interactions with attorneys, patients, Schneider family members, doctors and others.

She has filed a motion asking a federal judge to throw out the subpoena and told The Associated Press that she would go to jail rather than turn over the documents.

“I am going to fight it as far as I need to,” she said.

The U.S. attorney’s office declined to comment.

According to court documents, Reynolds is a subject in the investigation, or a person the prosecution may consider charging.

Reynolds’ group has supported the Schneiders, who were indicted in December 2007 on 34 counts alleging they unlawfully prescribed painkillers and overbilled for services at their clinic in the Wichita suburb of Haysville.

The indictment charges them with directly causing four deaths and contributing to 17 others. In total, the indictment links their clinic to 59 deaths as part of the alleged conspiracy. A decision by a federal judge limiting their trial to four deaths is under appeal.

The Schneiders maintain their innocence.

Reynolds has testified before Congress in her role as president of the Pain Relief Network. The group seeks to overturn the Controlled Substances Act as it pertains to physicians treating chronic pain patients, arguing it improperly interferes in the doctor-patient relationship. The organization is involved in about 15 cases nationwide in which physicians are charged with violating the act.

The group filed a lawsuit in February 2008 against the Justice Department on behalf of unnamed patients of Schneider, claiming 1,000 patients could not find adequate medical care after the Kansas Board of Healing Arts suspended Schneider’s license in the wake of a federal indictment.

A judge withdrew the suit a month later at the group’s request.

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