|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MONDAY, MARCH 30, 2009
CONTACT: LOLA POTTER
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – A Franklin County woman has pleaded guilty to “doctor shopping,” or going to multiple doctors in a 30 day period to obtain similar medications, using TennCare to pay the bill.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG) today announced the conviction of Tori Thornton, 25, of Decherd. Thornton pleaded guilty to five counts of fraudulently obtaining TennCare controlled substance benefits by “doctor shopping” by failing to disclose to her doctors that she had seen other physicians within a 30-day period and received prescriptions for the painkiller Hydrocodone, with the office visits paid for by TennCare.
"The ‘doctor shopping’ law passed by the Legislature is a valuable tool in cracking down on people who are abusing the TennCare program,” Inspector General Deborah Faulkner said. “Physicians across the state have applauded this new law and our efforts to stop people from doing this.”
Thornton received a five year sentence. She will serve 60 days in the Coffee County Jail. Upon her release she will be placed on supervised probation for 4 years and 10 months. District Attorney General J. Michael Taylor prosecuted 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."