|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
TUESDAY, DECEMBER 16, 2008
CONTACT: LOLA POTTER
TWO PEOPLE IN MCMINN COUNTY CHARGED WITH TENNCARE FRAUD
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Two people in McMinn County have been charged with TennCare fraud in separate cases.
Davis, 25, is charged with three counts of fraudulently using TennCare to obtain controlled substances by “doctor shopping.” According to the indictment, Davis failed to disclose to his doctor that he had seen other physicians within a 30-day period, receiving prescriptions for the strong painkillers Oxycodone and Hydrocodone. Davis received a prescription for Oxycodone during a visit to a hospital emergency room, which was paid for by TennCare. On two other occasions, Davis used TennCare to pay for prescriptions for Hydrocodone.
Kristie Smithers, 31, is charged with three counts of TennCare fraud for using TennCare to pay for fraudulent prescriptions. Smithers is accused of using TennCare to pay for fraudulent prescriptions written for the painkiller Hydrocodone on three separate occasions.
“Providers, local law enforcement officials and state agencies are simply no longer tolerating this kind of blatant abuse of TennCare, especially when it relates to addictive prescription painkillers,” Inspector General Deborah Y. Faulkner said. “We’re intent on prosecuting every one of these cases to the fullest extent possible.”
If convicted, each subject could each spend up to two years per charge in prison. District Attorney Steven Bebb will prosecute.
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 860 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."