|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MONDAY, MARCH 9, 2009
CONTACT: LOLA POTTER
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – A Montgomery County woman is accused of TennCare fraud for using TennCare benefits to pay for forged prescriptions for the addictive painkiller hydrocodone.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG), along with the 19th Judicial District Drug Task Force, today announced the arrest of 34-year old Laurel D. Baggett of Clarksville. She was indicted on six counts of TennCare fraud and ten counts of obtaining a controlled substance by fraud.
“Hydrocodone abuse is a problem for law enforcement, the healthcare system and essentially for people in our communities across Tennessee,” Inspector General Deborah Y. Faulkner said. “But with the help of providers, local law enforcement officials and citizens we’re putting an end to drug fraud in the TennCare program.”
District Attorney General John W. Carney will prosecute the case. Obtaining a controlled substance by fraud is a class D felony that carries a maximum of four years in prison for each charge. Illegally obtaining TennCare medical benefits is a class E felony that carries a maximum penalty of two years in prison for each charge.
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."