|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
THURSDAY, MAY 12, 2011
CONTACT: LOLA POTTER
NASHVILLE – A White County man is charged with using TennCare healthcare benefits to pay for an altered prescription.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG) today announced the arrest of Earl Ryan Barnes, 29, of Sparta, who turned himself in to the White County Sheriff’s Department.
A White County Grand Jury indicted Barnes on one count of TennCare fraud for allegedly presenting an altered prescription for the painkiller Percocet to a pharmacy in Sparta – the prescription had been altered to increase the quantity. He also was using another person’s TennCare card to pay for the drugs.
“Prescription drug fraud takes many forms, and altering the prescription to increase the quantity is one of those methods that pharmacists keep a watchful eye for,” Inspector General Deborah Y. Faulkner said. “Pharmacists are catching this and following up when they have questions.”
Barnes faces one count of TennCare fraud which is a Class E felony carrying a sentence of up to two years in prison. District Attorney General Randall A. York 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 1,400 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."