|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
THURSDAY, OCTOBER 30, 2008
CONTACT: LOLA POTTER
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - A Hamilton County woman is charged with TennCare fraud for selling a prescription drug medication which had been paid for by TennCare.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG) today announced the arrest of Shirley A. Hayden, 59, of Chattanooga. The Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office assisted in the arrest.
An indictment accuses Hayden of fraudulently obtaining TennCare medical benefits by going to a TennCare provider for a prescription for the painkiller Lortab, while intending to resell at least part of the drug. Hayden used TennCare to pay for the drug.
“The abuse of TennCare benefits will not be tolerated,” Inspector General Deborah Y. Faulkner said. “Local police, pharmacists, and other medical providers are all working together in the war against TennCare fraud – and we have the tools to pursue these cases as well as laws on the books to prosecute them.”
TennCare fraud is a Class E felony carrying a sentence of up to two years per charge in prison. District Attorney William H. Cox 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 815 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."