|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, May 7, 2012
CONTACT: LOLA POTTER
NASHVILLE – A Smith County man has been indicted in Wilson County for TennCare fraud involving “doctor shopping,” which includes going to more than one doctor in a short time period exclusively to obtain prescription drugs.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG), with the assistance of the Wilson County Sheriff’s Office, today announced the arrest of Joshua L. Sherrill, 21, of Gordonsville. He is accused of seeing multiple physicians, receiving prescriptions for the painkiller Hydrocodone, without disclosing the prescriptions to the physicians. The drugs were paid for by TennCare. In addition, Sherrill is also charged with attempting to obtain possession of a controlled substance by fraud.
“We are grateful to doctors, pharmacists and other providers as well as their medical staff, who help to identify people abusing TennCare in this manner,” Inspector General Deborah Y. Faulkner said. “TennCare is an important program for people who need help paying for health care services, and we intend to preserve it.”
TennCare fraud involving doctor shopping is a Class E felony carrying a sentence of up to two years in prison. Obtaining a controlled substance by fraud is a Class D felony that carries a sentence of up to four years in prison. District Attorney General Tom P. Thompson is prosecuting.
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.