|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
TUESDAY, MARCH 17, 2009
CONTACT: LOLA POTTER
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – A Rutherford County woman is charged with “doctor shopping” for drugs in the TennCare program.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG) and the Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office, today announced the arrest of Jessica Richardson, 27, of Murfreesboro.
Richardson was indicted on five counts of fraudulently using TennCare to obtain controlled substances by “doctor shopping.” Richardson failed to disclose to her doctor she had seen other physicians within a 30-day period and received prescriptions for the strong painkillers Hydrocodone and Oxycodone or similar drugs.
“We are aggressively working to stop the abuse and misuse of the TennCare program,” Inspector General Deborah Faulkner said. “We are pursuing prescription drug and doctor shopping cases across the state and plan to prosecute anyone and everyone we find committing TennCare fraud.”
TennCare fraud is a class E felony carrying a sentence of up to two years per charge in prison. District Attorney General William Whitesell, Jr. will be prosecuting.
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."