FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: LOLA POTTER
NASHVILLE, TN – A Loudon County man is charged a second time for “doctor shopping,” or going to multiple doctors in a short period of time to obtain controlled substances and using TennCare as payment.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG), with the assistance of the Loudon County Sheriff’s Office, today announced the arrest of 52-year old Eddie Vance Walden, of Philadelphia, TN. He has been indicted by a Loudon County Grand Jury in connection with “doctor shopping” for Tramadol, a pain medication, with the physician office visits being paid for by TennCare.
Walden was first charged with “doctor shopping” last month in Knox County for trying to get multiple prescriptions for a similar drug, using TennCare to pay for office visits.
“Trying to get prescription drugs for non-legitimate purposes by using TennCare simply won’t be tolerated,” Inspector General Deborah Y. Faulkner said. “Physicians and pharmacists across the state are helping us clamp down on this activity.”
TennCare fraud is a Class E felony carrying a sentence of up to two years in prison per charge. District Attorney General Russell Johnson will be prosecuting the Loudon County case.
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."