Hamilton Co. Woman Charged with TennCare Doctor Shopping
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – A Hamilton County woman is charged with doctor shopping for prescription drugs, using TennCare as payment for the pills.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG), with the assistance of the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office, today announced the arrest of Ashley S. Patterson, 28, of Chattanooga. She is charged with six counts of TennCare fraud by doctor shopping by visiting multiple healthcare providers in a short time period to obtain prescriptions for the painkiller Hydrocodone, using TennCare as payment.
“Tennessee is fortunate to have the laws and the authority to pursue people who are doctor shopping for drugs, whether it’s for personal use or with the intent of distribution,” Inspector General Manny Tyndall said. “We intend to pursue these cases with all of our resources.”
District Attorney General Neal Pinkston is prosecuting. TennCare fraud is now a Class D felony punishable by up to four years in prison.
The OIG, which is separate from TennCare, began full operation in February 2005 and has investigated cases leading to more than $3 million being repaid to TennCare, with a total estimated cost avoidance of more than $163.6 million for TennCare, according to latest figures. To date, 2,852 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 visit the website and follow the prompts that read “Report TennCare Fraud.”