|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
FRIDAY, MAY 15, 2009
CONTACT: LOLA POTTER
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – A Washington County man is charged with TennCare fraud for filling prescriptions for someone not eligible for TennCare, and using TennCare to pay for them.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG), along with the Washington County Sheriff’s Department announced the arrest of 34-year old Claude R. Burrell, of Johnson City, charged with one count of TennCare fraud.
The charge against Burrell accuses him of obtaining prescription drugs written for a family member who didn’t have TennCare benefits – and using TennCare to pay for the prescriptions.
“TennCare is a health care benefit specifically for people eligible for the program,” Inspector General Deborah Y. Faulkner said. “Someone has to pay for the benefits – the taxpayer – and we won’t allow the program to be abused.”
Illegally obtaining TennCare medical benefits is a Class E felony that carries a maximum penalty of two years in prison. District Attorney Anthony Clark will prosecute.
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 $165 million for the TennCare program, according to latest figures. To date, over 920 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."