|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
FRIDAY, JUNE 25, 2010
CONTACT: LOLA POTTER
NASHVILLE – A Meigs County woman is charged in Roane County with TennCare fraud involving “doctor shopping,” or using TennCare to visit multiple doctors in a short time period to obtain prescriptions for a controlled substance.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG), with assistance from the Roane County Sheriff’s Office, today announced the arrest of Sherry Hall, 55, of Ten Mile. Hall is charged with one count of fraudulently using TennCare to obtain a controlled substance by “doctor shopping.” She apparently failed to disclose to her doctor she had seen other physicians within a 30-day period and received a prescription for the painkiller Darvocet. Either the physician office visits or the prescriptions were paid for by TennCare.
“Prescription drug abuse is a serious crime, and people who are addicted to these drugs – or sell them to others who are dependent – need to get help, but first we need to get them off the street,” Inspector General Deborah Y. Faulkner said. “The ‘doctor shopping’ law related to TennCare is one of the key tools we have to combat this crime.”
TennCare fraud is a Class E felony carrying a sentence of up to two years per charge in prison. District Attorney General Russell Johnson 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 $2.5 million paid in restitution and recoupment to TennCare, with a total estimated cost avoidance of over $171 million for the TennCare program, according to latest figures. To date, over 1,200 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."