|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 4, 2012
CONTACT: LOLA POTTER
NASHVILLE - A Williamson County woman is charged with TennCare fraud involving “doctor shopping,” or using TennCare to go to multiple doctors in a short time period to obtain prescriptions for a controlled substance.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG) with assistance from the Williamson County Sheriff’s Office today announced the arrest of Tammy D. Smith, also known as Tammy Dawn Tyree, 38, of Franklin. Smith is charged with two counts of fraudulently using TennCare to obtain a controlled substance by “doctor shopping.”
An indictment accuses Smith of seeing multiple doctors within a 30-day period, receiving prescriptions for the painkillers Morphine Sulfate, Morphine Sulfate ER and Endocet with the physician office visits and/or prescriptions being paid for by TennCare.
“We are grateful for the assistance we receive from local police as well as pharmacies and providers who all want to bring an end to the abuse of TennCare, especially in the area of prescription drugs,” Inspector General Deborah Faulkner said. “We will keep pursuing people who commit these crimes as many times as it takes until they understand we will not tolerate this type of abuse of the TennCare program.”
TennCare fraud is a Class E felony carrying a sentence of up to two years per charge in prison. District Attorney General Kim Helper will be prosecuting this case.
The OIG, which is separate from TennCare, began full operation in February 2005 and has investigated cases leading to over $3.5 million paid in restitution and recoupment to TennCare, with a total estimated cost avoidance of over $173 million for the TennCare program, according to latest figures. To date, nearly 1,500 people have been charged with TennCare fraud.
Through the OIG Cash for Tips Program established by the Legislature, Tennesseans can get cash rewards for TennCare fraud tips that lead to convictions. Anyone can report suspected TennCare fraud by calling 1-800-433-3982 toll-free from anywhere in Tennessee, or log on to www.tn.gov/tnoig and follow the prompts that read "Report TennCare Fraud."