|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
THURSDAY, AUGUST 13, 2009
CONTACT: LOLA POTTER
TWO WILLIAMSON COUNTY RESIDENTS CHARGED WITH TENNCARE 'DOCTOR SHOPPING'
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Two people in Williamson County are charged today with TennCare fraud involving “doctor shopping,” a crime involving visits to multiple doctors to obtain prescriptions for similar controlled drugs which are then charged to TennCare.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG) and the Williamson County Sheriff’s Office today announced that a man and woman are each charged in separate indictments for going to multiple doctors in a short period of time to obtain controlled substances.
“Governor Bredesen led the charge to preserve TennCare and we’re committed to eliminating this kind of criminal activity in TennCare,” Inspector General Deborah Y. Faulkner said. “The governor pushed for a TennCare ‘doctor shopping’ law after establishing the OIG, and it’s a highly valued tool in the war against TennCare fraud.”
Joseph Beard, Jr., 42, of Franklin, is charged with three counts of fraudulently obtaining controlled substances by “doctor shopping.” He failed to disclose to his doctors that he had seen other physicians within a 30-day period and received prescriptions for the painkiller hydrocodone, using TennCare to pay for the prescriptions. In addition, Beard has also been charged with one count of TennCare fraud for fraudulently obtaining a prescription for the same painkiller, but that prescription belonged to his mother. TennCare paid for the prescription.
In a separate case, Christine E. Warf, 30, of Franklin, is charged with three counts of fraudulently obtaining a controlled substance by “doctor shopping.” Warf also failed to disclose to her doctor that she was seeing another physician in order to obtain prescriptions for the painkiller hydrocodone. TennCare paid for the prescriptions.
The OIG, which is separate from TennCare, began full operation in February 2005 and has investigated cases leading to over $2.6 million paid in restitution and recoupment to TennCare, with a total estimated cost avoidance of over $165 million for the TennCare program, according to latest figures. To date, over 920 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."