MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Monday marks week three in the ongoing federal trial of Montgomery doctor Richard Stehl. Dr. Stehl is charged with 103 counts including drug distribution, possession of a controlled substance, health care fraud, and money laundering.
The government alleges Stehl was involved in a health care scheme where he prescribed controlled substances to patients without a legitimate medical need and required them to schedule monthly office visits to get refills. The indictment says Stehl profited by overbilling health care providers for the unwarranted visits.
The government rested its case after calling dozens of witnesses including former patients, employees and experts over the course of two weeks.
The defense called Stehl to testify on Monday. Stehl was on the stand for more than eight hours, and the majority of that testimony was for the defense.
The focus of his testimony centered on 95 counts of drug distribution. Each count represents a medical visit where Stehl prescribed controlled substances to a patient, allegedly outside the course of general medical care.
A member of Stehl’s defense team walked him through medical records for the ten patients listed in the indictment who received those prescriptions. Stehl went through the patients on-by-one, explaining their diagnoses - stating they had valid medical conditions that warranted the prescriptions. Stehl described patients with complex chronic illnesses and told the jury he felt the need to bring them in monthly to “medically manage” their conditions.
Late Monday, the government began cross-examining Stehl starting with the reported sexual boundary issues he had with female patients, as documented by the Alabama Medical Board of Examiners. Stehl failed to answer some of the government’s questions about the females who lodged complaints against him with the state, explaining he didn’t remember.
Stehl will likely remain on the stand for hours on Tuesday. The defense expects to call a medical expert as their third witness. The jury could begin deliberations by the end of the week.
Stehl’s maintained his innocence since his arrest in August 2018.