DICKSON CO. WOMAN ACCUSED OF TENNCARE FRAUD IN BROTHER’S NURSING HOME CARE
TWO OTHERS IN SEQUATCHIE AND HAMBLEN COUNTIES SENTENCED
NASHVILLE – A Dickson County woman is accused of TennCare fraud in connection with putting a family member in a nursing home – and getting TennCare to foot the bill.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG) today announced that Sarah Ella Brunger, 68 of Fairview, is accused of concealing information about her brother’s assets, so that TennCare would pay for her brother’s nursing home care. Brunger had power of attorney for her brother, who had assets that made him ineligible for TennCare. The value of the nursing home costs paid by TennCare is over $60,000.
Governor Phil Bredesen created the OIG, one of the first units of its kind in the nation, in 2004. Since it became operational in February 2005, 232 people have been charged with TennCare fraud, leading to 59 convictions for TennCare fraud and 14 cases resolved.
“TennCare pays for nursing home care for people who are truly eligible for the program, but we’re committed to prosecuting those who abuse the system,” Inspector General Deborah Y. Faulkner said. “Concealing assets so a person appears to be indigent to qualify for this service is simply against the law in Tennessee.”
If convicted of the Class B and E felonies, Brunger could serve up to twelve years in prison. District Attorney Dan Alsobrooks will be prosecuting this case.
In separate cases from Sequatchie and Hamblen counties, two more people have been sentenced for TennCare fraud. Hazel England, 44, of Hamblen County, pleaded guilty to attempting to fraudulently obtaining prescription drugs through TennCare. She was sentenced to one year in the county jail and was given credit for 54 days she had already served since she was arrested. Krissie N. Deweese, 25, of Sequatchie County pleaded guilty to a Class E felony after her arrest in January for obtaining the painkiller oxycodone paid for by TennCare and attempting to sell the drug to undercover agents. She was sentenced to two years probation in lieu of two-year prison sentence.
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.”