FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: LOLA POTTER
NASHVILLE, TN - A husband and wife from Jefferson County are charged in nearby Claiborne County for doctor shopping, or going to multiple doctors to obtain controlled substances, and using public healthcare insurance benefits as payment through the TennCare program.
A Claiborne County Grand Jury charges William Hickey with one count of obtaining a controlled substance by doctor shopping while his wife Barbara is charged with three counts of obtaining a controlled substance by doctor shopping for drugs, using TennCare as payment.
"The doctor shopping law passed by the Legislature is a valuable tool in cracking down on people who aim to abuse the TennCare program,” Inspector General Deborah Faulkner said. “The Office of Inspector General will continue to aggressively go after anyone who attempts to misuse this important program—TennCare fraud is a crime.”
TennCare fraud is a Class E felony carrying a sentence of up to two years per charge in prison. District Attorney General Lori Phillips-Jones will be prosecuting both cases.
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."