|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 7, 2008
CONTACT: LOLA POTTER
WILLIAMSON COUNTY WOMAN CHARGED FOR 2ND TIME
WITH TENNCARE "DOCTOR SHOPPING"
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – A Williamson County woman is charged for the second time in less than a month with “doctor shopping,” or going to multiple doctors in a short period of time to obtain similar controlled substances.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG) today announced the arrest of Teresa L. Pruitt, 40, of Williamson County. Pruitt was indicted by a Lewis County Grand Jury and 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.
Last month, Pruitt was arrested for the first time – in Kentucky, where she had been staying. At that time, she was taken to the Williamson County Jail by U.S. Marshals after her indictment by a Williamson County Grand Jury on two counts of fraudulently obtaining controlled substances by “doctor shopping.” Pruitt is still being held in the Williamson County Jail. It was there that she was served the two count indictment from Lewis County for “doctor shopping.”
“Certain prescription drugs are classified as controlled substances because they have a dangerous potential for abuse and addiction,” Inspector General Deborah Faulkner said. “TennCare pays for such medications when prescribed under the direction and supervision of a physician, but we’re committed to pursuing those cases involving fraud and abuse especially when these classifications of dangerous drugs are involved.”
TennCare fraud is a Class E felony carrying a sentence of up to two years in prison. District Attorney General 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 820 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.tncarefraud.tennessee.gov and follow the prompts that read "Report TennCare Fraud."