|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
FRIDAY, JANUARY 13, 2012
CONTACT: LOLA POTTER
NASHVILLE – A DeKalb 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 controlled substances.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG), in a joint investigation with the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office, announced the arrest of Krista Mahaney, 26, of Smithville. She is charged with two counts of fraudulently using TennCare to obtain controlled substances by “doctor shopping.”
The charges accuse Mahaney of seeing more than one physician within a 30-day period for the purpose of getting prescriptions for Suboxone, a drug used to treat heroin addiction by mimicking the effects of the drug without the addictive qualities. The physician office visits and the medications were paid for by TennCare.
“The unauthorized use and abuse of prescription drugs is a serious crime, and it’s compounded when TennCare is used to subsidize the activity,” Inspector General Deborah Faulkner said. “We’re committed to ensuring that TennCare benefits are not used for the purchase and eventual distribution of these drugs to people they weren’t prescribed for.”
TennCare fraud is a Class E felony carrying a sentence of up to two years per charge in prison. District Attorney General Randall A. York is prosecuting.
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."