WOMAN CHARGED WITH TENNCARE FRAUD MUST REPAY STATE
NASHVILLE, TN – A Fairview woman has been ordered repay the State of Tennessee for TennCare medical services she arranged for her brother, who was in a nursing home.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG) today reports that Sarah Ella Brunger, 68, is ordered to repay the state a total of $78,326. 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, 298 people have been charged with TennCare fraud.
Brunger, 68, of Fairview, was indicted in April of this year in Dickson County for transferring assets out of her brother’s name so TennCare would pay for his nursing home care. At the time, she had power of attorney for her brother, and his assets would have kept him from being enrolled in TennCare. Earlier this month, Brunger was charged again with TennCare fraud – this time in Williamson County - for intentionally not reporting assets that would have kept herself from being enrolled in TennCare.
Brunger received pre-trial diversion on the Dickson County case, and she’ll be on probation for two years, providing she repays the state during that time.
“We intend to prosecute anyone who withholds information to get TennCare benefits,” Inspector General Deborah Y. Faulkner said. “Medicaid rules are strict to prevent people from pauperizing themselves or family members so the state will pay for a person’s nursing home care.”
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 Fraud Now.”