|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MONDAY, JANUARY 24, 2011
CONTACT: LOLA POTTER
NASHVILLE – A Blount County woman is charged with TennCare fraud for using the TennCare benefits of another person in order to pay for a fraudulent prescription.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG) today announced the arrest of Shanda L. Russell, 29, of Walland. Russell’s arrest was assisted by the Dickson and Blount County Sheriff’s Offices. She was arrested and charged with one count of TennCare fraud for fraudulently obtaining a prescription for the painkiller Hydrocodone, a controlled substance. Russell allegedly called a Maryville Clinic and obtained a prescription refill for Hydrocodone in the name of another TennCare enrollee. Russell used the enrollee’s TennCare to pay for the prescription at the time she picked up the medication at a local pharmacy.
“We are working diligently with local police and medical providers to help stop this kind of abuse of the TennCare program,” Inspector General Deborah Y. Faulkner said. “We are committed to eliminating this activity and arresting anyone who perpetrates TennCare Fraud.”
The TennCare fraud charge against Russell could result in a two year sentence, if convicted. District Attorney General Mike Flynn 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."