|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 4, 2009
CONTACT: LOLA POTTER
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – A Franklin County woman has been indicted for TennCare fraud involving “doctor shopping,” or using TennCare benefits to go to multiple doctors in a short time period to obtain controlled substances.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG), with assistance from the Decherd Police Department, today announced the arrest of Felicia Pandora Tarrant, 40, of Decherd. Tarrant is charged with one count of fraudulently using TennCare to obtain controlled substances by “doctor shopping.”
According to the indictment, Tarrant failed to disclose to her doctor, while receiving prescriptions for the controlled substance Alprazolam, an anti-anxiety medication, that she had seen other physicians within a 30-day period, receiving similar prescriptions for medications containing controlled substances of the same or similar drugs. The physician office visits were all paid for by TennCare.
"The response to our efforts to crack down on people who are ‘doctor shopping’ in TennCare has been overwhelming from providers and law enforcement units across Tennessee,” General Deborah Faulkner said. “With this tool, we have an even stronger program to go after the prescription drug problem.”
TennCare fraud involving doctor shopping is a Class E felony carrying a sentence of up to two years in prison. Acting District Attorney General J. Michael Taylor is prosecuting this case.
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. To date, over 900 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.tncarefraud.tennessee.gov and follow the prompts that read "Report TennCare Fraud."