|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 3, 2010
CONTACT: LOLA POTTER
MADISON CO. WOMAN CHARGED WITH TENNCARE "DOCTOR SHOPPING"
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - A Madison County woman has been indicted for TennCare fraud involving “doctor shopping,” or using TennCare to visit multiple doctors in a short time period to obtain prescriptions for a controlled substance.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG), with assistance from the Madison County Sheriff’s Office, today announced the arrest of Tanesia M. Harris, 35, of Jackson. Harris is charged with one count of fraudulently using TennCare to obtain a controlled substance by “doctor shopping.” The indictment says she failed to disclose to her doctor that she had seen other physicians within a 30-day period and received a prescription for the strong painkiller lortab, with the physician office visits being paid for by TennCare.
"Since the ‘doctor shopping’ law was passed by the Legislature and signed into law in the summer of 2007, we’ve arrested 95 TennCare members for this crime alone,” Inspector General Deborah Faulkner said. “Doctors and pharmacists across the state have applauded this new law and our efforts to stop people from doing this and are helping us develop these cases.”
TennCare fraud is a Class E felony carrying a sentence of up to two years per charge in prison. District Attorney General Jerry Woodall will be prosecuting this case.
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."