|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
THURSDAY, JANUARY 29, 2009
CONTACT: LOLA POTTER
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – A Cannon County woman has been indicted for “doctor shopping,” or going to multiple doctors in a short time period to get prescriptions for controlled substances and using TennCare to pay for the visits.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG) today announced the arrest of Crystal S. McMahon, 29, of Woodbury. McMahon is charged with four counts of fraudulently obtaining prescription anti-depressants by “doctor shopping.”
McMahon received a prescription for the anti-depressant Alprazolam, also known as Xanax, and is accused of failing to tell her doctor that she had seen another physician within a 30-day period and received prescriptions for the same or similar medication. McMahon used TennCare to pay for the provider visits.
“For years, there was nothing we could do about this crime – but with the new ‘doctor shopping’ law, the OIG can help put a stop to this misuse of TennCare benefits,” Inspector General Deborah Faulkner said. “Physicians across the state have welcomed the opportunity to do something about this problem.”
TennCare fraud is a Class E felony carrying a sentence of up to two years per charge in prison. District Attorney General William Whitesell, Jr. is prosecuting.
The OIG, which is separate from TennCare, was created by Governor Bredesen and began full operation in February 2005 and has investigated cases leading to over $2.6 million paid in restitution and recoupment to TennCare, with a total estimated cost avoidance of over $159 million for the TennCare program, according to latest figures.
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.tncarefraud.tennessee.gov and follow the prompts that read "Report TennCare Fraud."