THURSDAY, MAY 5, 2005
KNOXVILLE NURSE INDICTED FOR TENNCARE FRAUD
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – A Knoxville nurse was arrested today for
under-reporting her income to get TennCare health insurance benefits.
In a news conference in Knoxville, the Office of TennCare Inspector
General (OIG) and District Attorney General Randy Nichols announced
the arrest of 34-year-old Sheila
Jhala of Knoxville. She’s charged with theft of property
over a three-year period by falsely obtaining TennCare health insurance
benefits. Jhala is a nurse at Blount County Memorial Hospital.
TennCare premiums are based on income and family size. By falsely
reporting her income, she paid a far lower premium for health care
insurance than if she listed her correct income.
“People we’ve charged with TennCare fraud fall into many
income categories, occupations and really come from all walks of life,”
Inspector General Deborah Faulkner said. “Regardless of who
they are, if a person is committing TennCare fraud, we’re committed
to catching it and we’re going to prosecute.”
Jhala’s bond was set at $5,000. If convicted, she could be
sentenced to up to four years on the Class D felony charge of theft
Anyone can report suspected TennCare fraud by calling 1-800-433-3982
toll-free from anywhere in Tennessee, or log on to www.tennessee.gov/tenncare
and follow the prompts that read “Report Fraud Now.”
TennCare is the state’s managed care health insurance program
for 1.3 million people who are poor, disabled or uninsured.