Rhea Co. Woman Charged with Doctor Shopping for Drugs

Friday, July 21, 2017 | 1:24pm

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – A Rhea County woman is charged with doctor shopping for prescription drugs, using TennCare as payment for the pills. The charge is in connection with visiting multiple doctors in a short period of time to obtain prescription drugs.

The Office of Inspector General (OIG) with the assistance of the Rhea County Sheriff’s Office today announced the arrest of Juanita Crombie, 58, of Spring City. She is charged with using TennCare to doctor shop for the painkillers Demerol, Morphine and Dilaudid – which is also known as hydromorphone. All three drugs are opioids, sometimes known as narcotics and prescribed for pain. Crombie is charged with three counts of TennCare fraud by doctor shopping.

“Tennessee has taken a step forward to provide laws to pursue people who are using TennCare to doctor shop for drugs, whether it’s for personal abuse or with the intent of distribution,” Inspector General Manny Tyndall said. “These drugs can be life-threatening in the hands of people not under a doctor’s care.”

District Attorney General J. Michael Taylor is prosecuting. TennCare fraud is now a Class D felony punishable by up to four years in prison per charge.

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, 2,876 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.”

TennCare Fraud