|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
THURSDAY, JANUARY 21, 2010
CONTACT: LOLA POTTER
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - A Coffee County woman will finally face TennCare fraud charges, almost a year after she failed to appear in court on the charges.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG), with assistance from the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office, today announced the arrest of Paula Dove, 33, of Sewanee. She was arrested in Franklin County, 11 months after she failed to appear in court and continued to elude authorities.
Dove was arrested July 2008 in Coffee County on five counts of fraudulently using TennCare to obtain controlled substances by “doctor shopping.” Dove failed to disclose to her doctor that she had seen other physicians within a 30-day period, receiving prescriptions for the strong painkillers Hydrocodone and Oxycodone. The physician office visits were paid for by TennCare.
Dove never showed for her Coffee County Circuit Court appearance on February 18, 2009, and an additional warrant was issued for failure to appear in court. She is currently being held on a $15,000 bond in the Franklin County Jail.
“People who engage in ‘doctor shopping’ in TennCare and other drug fraud actions in TennCare face being tracked down to face those charges in court,” Inspector General Deborah Y. Faulkner said. “We are simply not tolerating this activity in the TennCare program, and the doctors and pharmacists as well as the public want to see this eliminated.”
TennCare fraud involving doctor shopping and failure to appear in court are Class E felonies carrying a sentence of up to two years per charge in prison. District Attorney General Michael Layne 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 1,100 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."