|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 4, 2009
CONTACT: LOLA POTTER615.532.8560 (OFFICE)615.202.0701 (CELL)
HAMILTON COUNTY WOMAN CHARGED WITH TENNCARE FRAUD
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – A Hamilton County woman is charged with TennCare fraud for attempting to fill an altered prescription.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG) today announced the arrest of Christina L. Dunn, 37, of Chattanooga. Dunn’s arrest was assisted by the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office.
She is charged with one count of fraudulently obtaining TennCare benefits for using TennCare to pay for an office visit where she obtained a prescription. Charges say she altered the prescription to include the drug methadone, which is used to treat heroin and morphine addiction by alleviating withdrawal symptoms. Methadone is also used to treat severe pain.
"People who have a habit of drug abuse will sometimes take drastic measures to obtain their drugs, but we won’t tolerate abuse of TennCare to obtain drugs illegally,” Inspector General Deborah Y. Faulkner said. “In addition, many prescription drugs can be fatally harmful when used the wrong way.”
Illegally obtaining TennCare medical benefits is a Class E felony that carries a maximum penalty of two years in prison. District Attorney General William H. Cox, III will prosecute this case.
The OIG, which is separate from TennCare, began full operation in February 2005 and has investigated cases leading to over $2.5 million paid in restitution and recoupment to TennCare, with a total estimated cost avoidance of over $171 million for the TennCare program, according to latest figures. To date, over 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."