|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MONDAY, OCTOBER 20, 2008
CONTACT: LOLA POTTER
NASHVILLE– A Williamson County woman has been indicted for “doctor shopping,” or going to multiple doctors in a short period of time to obtain similar control substances.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG)today announced the arrest of 40-year old Teresa L. Pruitt, who was charged with two counts of fraudulently obtaining controlled substances by “doctor shopping.”
Pruitt is accused of failing to disclose to her doctors that she had seen other physicians within a 30-day period and received similar prescriptions for the painkiller Hydrocodone. The physician office visits were paid for by TennCare. Pruitt had been staying in Kentucky when she was arrested and brought to the Williamson County Jail by U. S. Marshals.
“Hydrocodone abuse is a huge problem across the nation, but with the help of local police officers and providers across Tennessee, we are waging war on prescription drug fraud of any kind in TennCare,” Inspector Genera Deborah Y. Faulkner said. “We appreciate the providers, local law enforcement officials and citizens who provide us with valuable information in our efforts to identify and prosecute TennCare fraud.”
TennCare fraud is a Class E felony carrying a sentence of up to two years in prison. District Attorney Kim Helper 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 800 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."