|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 3, 2009
CONTACT: LOLA POTTER
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – A Gibson County man has pleaded guilty to TennCare fraud and has been ordered to serve time in jail.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG) today announced the conviction of Jerald G. Rodgers, 43 of Humboldt. Rodgers was arrested twice by the OIG - in September 2008 and again a month later in October - for “doctor shopping,” or using TennCare to pay for multiple doctor visits in a short period of time to obtain controlled substances. Rodgers was charged in Gibson and Obion Counties. He was “shopping” for prescriptions for Kadian, a time-released form of the painkiller morphine.
“We are aggressively working to stop the abuse and misuse of TennCare,” Inspector General Deborah Y. Faulkner said. “We are pursuing prescription drug and doctor shopping cases across the state and plan to prosecute those who are committing TennCare fraud, especially in cases involving powerful prescription drugs.”
In Gibson County, Rodgers pleaded guilty to three counts of TennCare fraud, receiving a two-year sentence on each count. He also pleaded guilty to selling a schedule II controlled substance and received a three-year sentence on that charge. Additionally, he pleaded guilty to two counts of TennCare fraud in Obion County. All sentences were ordered to be served concurrently for an effective three-year sentence, along with court cost and fines.
The OIG, which is separate from TennCare, 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."