|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 16, 2009
CONTACT: LOLA POTTER615.532.8560 (OFFICE)615.202.0701 (CELL)
HAMILTON COUNTY WOMAN CHARGED WITH TENNCARE DRUG FRAUD
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – A Hamilton County woman is charged with TennCare fraud for using TennCare to pay for a fraudulent prescription for a painkiller.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG) today announced that 37-year old Twanda Diane Blakes of Red Bank is charged with one count of TennCare fraud, accused of using TennCare to pay for a fraudulent prescription for the painkiller Hydrocodone at a local pharmacy in Chattanooga.
“This case was brought to our attention by an alert and quick-acting pharmacist,” Inspector General Deborah Faulkner said. “There are certain things pharmacists look for that will raise their suspicions when these kinds of prescriptions are presented, and we’re glad they’re working with us to stop this activity in TennCare.”
TennCare fraud is a Class E felony, carrying a sentence of up to two years in prison. District Attorney General William H. Cox, III is prosecuting.
The OIG, which is separate from TennCare, began full operation in February 2005 and has investigated cases leading to over $2.5 million paid in restitution and recoupment to TennCare, with a total estimated cost avoidance of over $171 million for the TennCare program, according to latest figures. To date, over 1,050 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."