Three People in West Tennessee Charged with TennCare Fraud

Thursday, July 06, 2017 | 11:43am

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Residents of Lauderdale and Dyer counties are charged in separate TennCare doctor shopping cases, accused of using TennCare to visit multiple doctors within 30-days to obtain prescriptions for controlled substances.

The Office of Inspector General (OIG), with the assistance of sheriff’s officers in Lauderdale and Dyer counties today announced the arrests:

  • Willis T. Taylor, 31, of Ripley, charged with two counts of doctor shopping for the painkillers Oxycodone and Hydrocodone, using TennCare as payment. District Attorney General Michael Dunavant will prosecute the case.
  • Britni Young, 20, of Dyersburg, charged with four counts of doctor shopping for the painkiller Hydrocodone, using TennCare as payment.
  • Latonya Wesley also known as Tonya Pirtle, 20, of Newbern, charged with three counts of using TennCare to doctor shop for the painkiller Hydrocodone. District Attorney General Phillip Bivens will be prosecuting the Dyer County cases.

“Halting the abuse of TennCare benefits, especially to fraudulently obtain addictive pain medication, is our number one priority,” Inspector General Manny Tyndall said. “Local police, providers and the healthcare community are with us in the effort to weed this problem out of the TennCare program.”

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, 2,869 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.”