|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 17, 2009
CONTACT: LOLA POTTER615.532.8560 (OFFICE)615.202.0701 (CELL)
LINCOLN COUNTY WOMAN CHARGED WITH TENNCARE "DOCTOR SHOPPING" - FOR 2ND TIME
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – A Lincoln County woman is charged with “doctor shopping” in TennCare, which is the act of going to multiple doctors in a short period of time to obtain the same or similar controlled substances.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG) with assistance from the Fayetteville Police Department and the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Department today announced the arrest of Brenda Peden, 43, of Flintville. She was indicted by a Franklin County Grand Jury and charged with three counts of fraudulently using TennCare to obtain a controlled substance by “doctor shopping.”
Peden failed to disclose to her doctor that she had seen other physicians within a 30-day period and received prescriptions for Diazepam, which is generic Valium, an anti-depressant, and Clonazepam, a muscle relaxant usually prescribed to treat seizures and panic attacks. The physician office visits were paid for by TennCare.
This was Peden’s second arrest for TennCare “doctor shopping.” In May, she was arrested in Lincoln County and charged with two counts of TennCare fraud for illegally selling a portion of prescription drugs that were obtained with TennCare benefits. The drugs involved were the painkiller Lortab and Aderall, a stimulant used to treat attention deficit disorder.
"Governor Bredesen worked with the Legislature to get the ‘doctor shopping’ law passed a couple of years ago, and it’s become one of our most valuable tools in cracking down on people who are abusing TennCare,” Inspector General Deborah Faulkner said. “For years, physicians across the state were aware people were ‘doctor shopping,’ but until this law was passed, there wasn’t a way to stop it.”
TennCare fraud is a Class E felony carrying a sentence of up to two years per charge in prison. District Attorney General J. Michael Taylor will be prosecuting 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."