|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 19, 2009
CONTACT: LOLA POTTER
MCMINN, PUTNAM COUNTY RESIDENTS CHARGED WITH TENNCARE DRUG FRAUD
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Residents of McMinn and Putnam Counties have been charged with TennCare fraud related to prescription drugs. The Office of Inspector General (OIG) today announced the arrests.
A McMinn County woman is charged in Hamilton County for using TennCare to pay for a forged prescription for narcotics. Katherine A. Woody, also known as Katherine A. Clark, 37, of Riceville, is accused of altering the number of pills prescribed on a legitimate prescription for Lortab, an addictive painkiller, in an attempt to use TennCare to pay for the drugs. The Hamilton County Sheriff’s Fugitive Unit assisted the OIG in this arrest. TennCare charge against her is a class E felony carrying a sentence of up to two years in prison. District Attorney General William H. Cox, III is prosecuting.
In Putnam County, a Baxter woman is charged with five felony counts of TennCare fraud for using TennCare to pay for forged prescriptions for the painkiller Hydrocodone. Regina C. Tausan, 41, is accused of presenting the prescriptions at a local pharmacy. Her arrest was assisted by the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office. The charges are class E felonies carrying a sentence of up to two years per charge in prison. District Attorney General Randy A. York is prosecuting.
“We are working diligently to stop abuse of the TennCare program – especially in the area of prescription drugs,” Inspector General Deborah Faulkner said. “We are pursuing prescription drug cases across the state and plan to prosecute anyone and everyone we find to be abusing TennCare.”
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, more than 1,000 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."