|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 9, 2011
CONTACT: LOLA POTTER
NASHVILLE – A Franklin County woman is charged with TennCare fraud involving “doctor shopping,” or using TennCare to go to multiple doctors in a short time period to obtain prescriptions for a controlled substance.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG), with the assistance of the Franklin County Sheriff, today announced the arrest of Tonia M. Nard, 39, of Cowan. She’s charged with five counts of fraudulently using TennCare to obtain a controlled substance by “doctor shopping,” involving the strong painkiller Hydrocodone. The doctor’s office visits were paid for with TennCare benefits.
“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 are committed to pursuing those cases involving fraud and abuse especially when these classifications of dangerous drugs are involved.”
The TennCare fraud charges against Nard could result in a two year sentence per charge, if convicted. District Attorney General J. Michael Taylor is prosecuting.
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."