Kansas regulators have indefinitely suspended the medical license of a Manhattan doctor linked to drug overdoses among active-duty Fort Riley soldiers and their families.
The Kansas Board of Healing Arts on Thursday cited the criminal charge filed against Michael P. Schuster in making its decision. The board also issued a public censure.
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Schuster has 15 days to request a hearing before the order becomes permanent.
The 53-year-old physician was charged Tuesday in a federal criminal complaint with conspiracy to distribute drugs. He remains jailed pending a detention hearing next week.
State regulators also revealed that Schuster has voluntarily surrendered a federal license that had allowed him to prescribe controlled substances.
Schuster’s clinic, Manhattan Pain and Spine, is about 15 miles from Fort Riley, a U.S. Army base that is home to the 1st Infantry Division.
The investigation began early last year when the Riley County Police Department told federal prosecutors that Schuster was issuing prescriptions for high doses of controlled substances based on minimal physical exams. Many of those drugs wound up being peddled on the street.
Fort Riley physicians and hospital staff also voiced concerns to military investigators about several overdose deaths of active-duty soldiers and family members who were patients of Schuster, according to an FBI affidavit filed with the criminal complaint.
Schuster was the only one in his office authorized to prescribe controlled substances. But the affidavit said Schuster would sign his name to blank prescriptions and leave those behind, directing staff to fill them out while he was traveling, including overseas to Russia, South Africa and Uruguay.
Authorities allege Schuster was out of the office when 542 patients received prescriptions for drugs, including the painkillers oxycodone and morphine.
The doctor, a 1982 graduate of Stavropol State Medical Academy in Russia, previously was known as Mikhail Pavlovich Shusterov.
Schuster’s attorney, Barry Clark of Manhattan, declined comment Wednesday outside a court hearing, where prosecutors asked that he be detained because he was a flight risk.
The doctor has financial resources of more than $1 million outside the U.S., a home in Paraguay and two passports, Assistant U.S. Attorney Aaron Smith told the court.