FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: LOLA POTTER
NASHVILLE, TN – A Davidson County woman is charged in nearby Wilson County with TennCare fraud in connection with using the state’s Medicaid program to pay for fraudulent prescriptions for painkillers.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG), with the assistance of the Wilson County Sheriff’s Office, today announced the arrest of Jessica Houchin, 31, of Nashville.
Houchin has been charged with three counts of TennCare fraud and two counts of obtaining a controlled substance by fraud. Charges say on three separate occasions she obtained a prescription for the painkiller Oxymorphone by means of a forged prescription, using TennCare to pay for the prescriptions.
“We are working with local police and providers to help us get this kind of activity out of the TennCare program,” Inspector General Deborah Faulkner said. “We’re committed to eliminating the incidence of people fraudulently obtaining drugs and letting TennCare pick up the tab.”
TennCare fraud is a Class E felony carrying a sentence of up to two years in prison per charge, and obtaining a controlled substance by fraud is a Class D felony, punishable by two to four years in prison per charge. District Attorney General Tom P. Thompson 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 2,000 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."