|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 14, 2012
CONTACT: LOLA POTTER
NASHVILLE, TN – A Loudon County man is charged in a Knox County indictment with TennCare fraud involving “doctor shopping,” or using TennCare to go to multiple doctors to obtain prescriptions for a controlled substance.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG), with the assistance of officers from the Knox and Loudon County Sheriff’s Offices and Loudon Police today announced the arrest of Eddie Vance Walden, 52, of Loudon.
Walden is charged with using TennCare to obtain a controlled substance by “doctor shopping,” and obtaining a controlled substance by fraud. The physician office visits were paid for by TennCare.
“The unauthorized use and abuse of TennCare to obtain multiple prescriptions for controlled drugs simply won’t be tolerated in the TennCare program,” Inspector General Deborah Faulkner said. “We’re committed to ensuring TennCare benefits are preserved for people who need the healthcare insurance benefits.”
TennCare fraud is a Class E felony, carrying a sentence of up to two years in prison. Obtaining a controlled substance by fraud is a Class D felony, carrying a sentence of up to four years in prison if convicted. District Attorney General Randall Nichols 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, over 1,700 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."