|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MONDAY, AUGUST 8, 2011
CONTACT: LOLA POTTER
NASHVILLE – A Bradley County woman is charged with TennCare fraud involving “doctor shopping,” or using TennCare to go to multiple doctors in a short time period to obtain controlled substances.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG) with assistance from Bradley County Sheriff’s Officers today announced the arrest of Melissa Cronan, 45, of Ocoee. She is charged with eight counts of fraudulently using TennCare to obtain controlled substances by “doctor shopping.” Cronan failed to disclose to her doctor that she had seen other physicians within a 30-day period and received prescriptions for the same or similar controlled substances, with the clinical visit being paid for by TennCare.
"Physicians across the state have a taken a central role in cracking down on ‘doctor shopping’ in TennCare,” Inspector General Deborah Y. Faulkner said. “Before the law was passed, their hands were tied – but now they are quick to let us know about a person trying to abuse TennCare in this manner.”
TennCare fraud involving doctor shopping is a Class E felony carrying a sentence of up to two years per charge in prison. District Attorney General Steven Bebb is prosecuting.
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, nearly 1,500 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."