FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: LOLA POTTER
NASHVILLE, TN - A Monroe County is charged with TennCare doctor shopping, which is using TennCare to go to multiple healthcare providers in a short time period to obtain controlled substances.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG), with the assistance of the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office, today announced the arrest of Richard Martin, 31, of Sweetwater, Tennessee. He is charged with one count of fraudulently using TennCare to obtain controlled substances by “doctor shopping,” for controlled substances, with the physician office visits or the prescriptions being paid for with TennCare benefits.
“The unauthorized use and abuse of prescription drugs is considered a serious crime in Tennessee,” Inspector General Deborah Faulkner said. “We’re committed to ensuring that TennCare benefits are used to improve the public health, not jeopardize it.”
TennCare fraud is a Class E felony carrying a sentence of up to two years in prison per charge. District Attorney General R. 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, over 1,900 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."