|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 2, 2011
CONTACT: LOLA POTTER
NASHVILLE – A Shelby 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 controlled substances.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG) today announced the arrest of Nicole White, 30, of Memphis. She is charged with one count of fraudulently using TennCare to obtain controlled substances by “doctor shopping.”
White saw multiple physicians within a 30-day period and received prescriptions for the same or similar controlled substances, with the physician office visits and the medications being paid for by TennCare.
“The unauthorized use and abuse of prescription drugs is a serious public health threat in Tennessee,” Inspector General Deborah Faulkner said. “We’re committed to ensuring that TennCare benefits are not used to fund misuse of prescription drugs.”
TennCare fraud is a Class E felony carrying a sentence of up to two years in prison. District Attorney General Amy P. Weirich 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."