|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, May 4, 2012
CONTACT: LOLA POTTER
NASHVILLE – A Cocke County woman is charged with TennCare fraud for “doctor shopping,” or going to multiple physicians in a short time period in order to get prescription drugs.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG), with the assistance of the Cocke County Sheriff’s Office, today announced the arrest of Desiree Larea McIntyre, 23, of Newport. McIntyre is charged with two counts of fraudulently using TennCare to obtain controlled substances by doctor shopping. The charges say she failed to disclose to her doctor she had seen other physicians and received prescriptions for the painkiller Hydrocodone, with the physician office visits being paid for by her TennCare benefits.
"The mission of the Office of Inspector General is go after anyone who commits fraud and abuse of the TennCare program especially as it relates to prescription drugs," Inspector General Deborah Faulkner said. "People should know we will meet our mission by vigorously prosecuting anyone who abuses or attempts to abuse this program."
TennCare fraud is a Class E felony carrying a sentence of up to two years in prison per charge. District Attorney General James Dunn is prosecuting.
The OIG, which is separate from TennCare, began full operation in February 2005 and has investigated cases leading to over $3.5 million paid in restitution and recoupment to TennCare, with a total estimated cost avoidance of over $173 million for the TennCare program, according to latest figures. To date, over 1,600 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."