|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
TUESDAY, JANUARY 18, 2011
CONTACT: LOLA POTTER
NASHVILLE – A Sumner 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 Gallatin police, today announced the arrest of Tonya R. Dill, 42, of Gallatin. She is charged with five counts of fraudulently using TennCare to obtain controlled substances by “doctor shopping.” An indictment against her says Dill saw multiple physicians within a 30-day period, receiving prescriptions for the strong painkiller Hydrocodone, with the physician office visits and the medications being paid for by TennCare. Dill was also charged with five counts of obtaining possession of a Schedule III controlled substance, Hydrocodone and 16 counts of obtaining possession of Alprazolam, an anti-anxiety medication and Schedule IV controlled substance.
“We have zero tolerance in Tennessee for the unauthorized use and abuse of prescription drugs, especially when TennCare is involved,” Inspector General Deborah Faulkner said. “We’re committed to ensuring that TennCare benefits are used to improve the public health, not jeopardize it.”
TennCare fraud is a Class E felony carrying a sentence of up to two years per charge in prison, and obtaining a controlled substance by fraud is a Class D felony, punishable by two to four years in prison per charge. District Attorney General Lawrence R. Whitley is prosecuting.
The OIG, which is separate from TennCare, began full operation in February 2005 and has investigated cases leading to over $2.5 million paid in restitution and recoupment to TennCare, with a total estimated cost avoidance of over $171 million for the TennCare program, according to latest figures. To date, over 1,300 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."