|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 11, 2008
CONTACT: LOLA POTTER
NASHVILLE - A McMinn County man has been indicted for “doctor shopping,” or going to multiple doctors in a short time period to get prescriptions for controlled substances and using TennCare to pay for the visits.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG) today announced the arrest of Christopher W. Roderick, 34, of Athens. Roderick is charged with one count of fraudulently obtaining prescription painkillers by “doctor shopping.”
Roderick received a prescription for the painkiller Hydrocodone, and is accused of failing to tell his doctor that he had seen another physician within a 30-day period and received prescription for the same painkiller. Roderick used TennCare to pay for the prescriptions. He turned himself in at the McMinn County Sheriff’s office.
“For years, there was nothing we could do about this crime – but with the new ‘doctor shopping’ law the OIG can help put a stop to this outrageous behavior and misuse of TennCare benefits,” Inspector General Deborah Faulkner said. “Physicians across the state have welcomed the opportunity to do something about this problem.”
TennCare fraud is a Class E felony carrying a sentence of up to two years per charge in prison. District Attorney General R. Steven Bebb is prosecuting.
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.tn.gov/tnoig and follow the prompts that read "Report TennCare Fraud."