FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: LOLA POTTER
NASHVILLE, TN – A White County woman is charged with TennCare fraud involving “doctor shopping,” or using TennCare to go to multiple doctors in a short period to obtain controlled substances.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG), with the assistance of the White County Sheriff’s Department, today announced the arrest of Christy C. Garrett, 37, of Sparta. She is charged with one count of fraudulently using TennCare to obtain controlled substances by “doctor shopping” for the painkiller Hydrocodone. The physician office visits were paid for with TennCare benefits.
“The Office of Inspector General is aggressively investigating and prosecuting individuals who are intent on trying to use their TennCare benefits to access painkillers and other prescription drugs by ‘doctor shopping,’” Inspector General Deborah Faulkner said. “Anyone who commits fraud against the TennCare program is a target for arrest and prosecution, as we are intensely working these cases.”
TennCare fraud is a Class E felony, carrying a sentence of up to two years in prison. District Attorney General Randall A. York is prosecuting.
The OIG, which is separate from TennCare, began full operation in February 2005 and has investigated cases leading to over $3.5 million paid in restitution and recoupment to TennCare, with a total estimated cost avoidance of over $173 million for the TennCare program, according to latest figures. To date, over 1,700 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 log on to www.tn.gov/tnoig and follow the prompts that read "Report TennCare Fraud."