|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MONDAY, OCTOBER 17, 2011
CONTACT: LOLA POTTER
NASHVILLE – A Humphreys County woman is charged for the second time with TennCare “doctor shopping,” or going to multiple doctors in a short period to obtain the same or similar controlled substances and using TennCare to pay for it.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG) today announced the arrest of 36-year old Melissa Kay Grissom, who was indicted by a grand jury in Dickson County with two counts of fraudulently using TennCare to obtain controlled substances by “doctor shopping.”
Grissom saw multiple physicians in a 30-day period, receiving prescriptions for the same or similar controlled substances, with the physician office visits and prescriptions being paid for by TennCare. Earlier this month, on October 6, she was charged with “doctor shopping” for drugs in an indictment out of Humphreys County. “Doctor shopping” charges can be brought only against people who use TennCare to pay for the office visits or the prescriptions.
“Prescription drug abuse is a concern of communities large and small across Tennessee, and doctors and pharmacies have been eager to help us crack down on this crime,” Inspector General Deborah Y. Faulkner said. “We’re committed to preserving TennCare services for citizens, and that means pursuing all leads we get and working closely with healthcare providers and local police across the state.”
TennCare fraud is a Class E felony carrying a sentence of up to two years per charge in prison. District Attorney General Dan M. Alsobrooks will be prosecuting the Dickson County case.
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, nearly 1,500 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."