|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
FRIDAY, JUNE 22, 2012
CONTACT: LOLA POTTER
NASHVILLE – A Giles County woman is charged for a second time with TennCare “doctor shopping,” or going to multiple doctors to obtain the same or similar controlled substances and using TennCare as payment.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG), with the assistance of the Giles County Sheriff’s Office and the Federal Marshall’s Fugitive Task Force of the Middle Tennessee District, today announced the arrest of 38-year old Melody Ann Bridges, of Pulaski. An indictment out of Maury County accuses her of two counts “doctor shopping,” using TennCare as payment, by going to multiple physicians for prescriptions for the strong painkiller Hydrocodone.
Bridges was charged with TennCare “doctor shopping” less than a month ago, on May 25, 2012, in a Marshall County indictment involving the same prescription drug.
“Prescription drug abuse is a concern in communities across Tennessee,” Inspector General Deborah Y. Faulkner said. “The Office of Inspector General is working diligently to stop this criminal activity with the help of medical providers and our law enforcement partners—if you commit this crime, you will be arrested.”
TennCare fraud is a Class E felony carrying a sentence of up to two years per charge in prison per charge. District Attorney Mike Bottoms will be prosecuting the Maury 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 1,600 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."