|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
THURSDAY, May 31, 2012
CONTACT: LOLA POTTER
NASHVILLE – A Rhea County woman is charged with TennCare fraud in connection with “doctor shopping,” or going to multiple doctors in a short period of time to get drugs.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG) with the assistance of the Rhea and Hamilton County Sheriff’s Offices, today announced the arrest of 25-year old Heather Jeanetta Stewart, also known as Heather Jeanetta Crownober, of Dayton. She was indicted by a Hamilton County Grand Jury on two counts of fraudulently using TennCare to obtain a controlled substance by doctor shopping for painkillers … in this case. Oxycodone.
“Prescription drug abuse is a concern of communities large and small across Tennessee,” Inspector General Deborah Y. Faulkner said. “With the help of medical providers and local law enforcement, the Office of Inspector General is sending a message that abusing TennCare will have serious repercussions—we will prosecute to the fullest extent of the law.”
TennCare fraud is a Class E felony carrying a sentence of up to two years in prison per charge. District Attorney General William H. Cox 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."