|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MONDAY, JULY 16, 2012
CONTACT: LOLA POTTER
NASHVILLE – A Cocke 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 Cocke County Sheriff’s Office, today announced the arrest of 23-year old Desiree Larea McIntyre, of Newport. She was indicted by a Sevier Grand Jury and charged with two counts of fraudulently using TennCare to obtain a controlled substance by “doctor shopping” for the painkiller Hydrocodone. She was served with the indictment at the Cocke County jail, where she is being held on unrelated charges.
McIntyre was previously arrested on May 4 of this year on an indictment charging her with two counts of TennCare “doctor shopping.” She used TennCare to pay for physician office visits where she received prescriptions for the strong painkiller Hydrocodone.
“Prescription drug abuse is a concern, but it’s one we can do something about, especially when TennCare is involved,” Inspector General Deborah Y. Faulkner said. “With the help of providers and local law enforcement, 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 in prison per charge. District Attorney General James B. Dunn is prosecuting the Sevier 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."