|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 11, 2008
CONTACT: LOLA POTTER
NASHVILLE - A Rutherford County man is charged with using the TennCare medical benefits of another individual in order to get healthcare treatment he would otherwise have to pay for.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG) and the Rutherford County Sheriff's Department today announced the arrest of Steven M. Barrett, 19, of Murfreesboro.
An indictment charges Barrett with one count of TennCare fraud and using someone’s TennCare card in order to obtain treatment at a healthcare provider's office in Rutherford County.
"Healthcare benefits are not transferable to another person – even in the private sector – and it’s especially egregious for someone to steal the benefits of a person who legitimately qualifies for TennCare,” Inspector General Deborah Y. Faulkner said.
Illegally obtaining TennCare medical benefits is a Class E felony that carries a maximum penalty of two years in prison per charge. District Attorney William Whitesell, Jr. will prosecute.
The OIG, a law enforcement agency separate from TennCare, began full operation in February 2005 and has worked cases leading to the arrest of over 760 individuals for TennCare fraud, with nearly $1 million paid in restitution to TennCare, and total estimated cost avoidance in TennCare of over $122 million, according to latest figures.
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.tncarefraud.tennessee.gov and follow the prompts that read "Report TennCare Fraud."