|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 2, 2011
CONTACT: LOLA POTTER
NASHVILLE – A Sevier County woman is charged with TennCare fraud involving “doctor shopping,” or using TennCare to go to multiple doctors within a month’s time to obtain prescriptions for controlled substances.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG), with assistance from the Sevier County Sheriff, today announced the arrest of Priscilla Blackburn, 27, of Gatlinburg. She is charged with four counts of TennCare fraud. An indictment says she visited more than one doctor within 30-days, receiving prescriptions for the painkillers Hydrocodone and Tramadol, with the physician office visits being paid for by TennCare.
“Putting the brakes on prescription drug fraud is one of the state’s highest priorities, especially when public healthcare dollars are involved,” Inspector General Deborah Y. Faulkner said.
The TennCare fraud charge against Blackburn could result in a two year sentence per count, if convicted. District Attorney General James B. Dunn 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."