|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MONDAY, JUNE 13, 2011
CONTACT: LOLA POTTER
NASHVILLE – A Madison County woman is charged for the second time with TennCare “doctor shopping,” or going to multiple doctors in a short period to obtain the same or similar controlled substances and using TennCare as payment along the way.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG) today announced the arrest of 43-year old Tammy Marie Dunagan, indicted in Gibson County on one count of fraudulently using TennCare to obtain controlled substances by “doctor shopping.” She is accused of seeing multiple physicians within a 30-day period, receiving prescriptions for the strong painkillers Oxycodone and Hydrocodone, with the physician office visits being paid for by TennCare. Dunagan was being held in the Carroll County jail on unrelated charges and was later transported to Gibson County where she was served with the indictment and arraigned.
Dunagan was arrested just over two weeks ago, on May 27 on an indictment out of Carroll County, charging her with two counts of “doctor shopping” for the same drugs, Oxycodone and Hydrocodone, using TennCare to pay for the office visits.
“Prescription drug abuse is a concern of communities large and small across Tennessee,” Inspector General Deborah Y. Faulkner said. “With the help of providers, we’re sending a message that abusing TennCare will have serious repercussions.”
TennCare fraud is a Class E felony carrying a sentence of up to two years per charge in prison. District Attorney Garry Brown will be prosecuting the Gibson County case.
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.