|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
FRIDAY, JUNE 17, 2011
CONTACT: LOLA POTTER
NASHVILLE – A Bedford County man is charged in Williamson County with TennCare fraud involving “doctor shopping,” or using TennCare healthcare insurance benefits to go to multiple doctors in a short time period to obtain prescriptions for a controlled substance.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG), with the assistance of the Bedford County and Williamson County Sheriff’s Offices, today announced the arrest of Tracy B. White, 40, of Shelbyville. White is charged with one count of fraudulently using TennCare to obtain a controlled substance by “doctor shopping.”
An indictment says White failed to disclose to his doctor that he had seen other physicians within a 30-day period and received a prescription for the strong painkillers Oxycodone and Morphine Sulfate, with the prescriptions being paid for by TennCare.
"People going to several doctors in a short period of time to obtain painkillers are usually not just looking for ways to alleviate their own symptoms,” Inspector General Deborah Y. Faulkner said. “This is one of the ways these drugs find their way to people they weren’t intended for – children, neighbors and others in our communities – and when TennCare is used, the taxpayer is paying for this abuse.”
TennCare fraud is a Class E felony carrying a sentence of up to two years in prison. District Attorney General Kim R. Helper will be prosecuting this 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."