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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
TUESDAY, FEB. 11, 2014

 
CONTACT: LOLA POTTER
615.532.8560 (OFFICE)

    
     

HAWKINS COUNTY WOMAN CHARGED WITH TENNCARE FRAUD

NASHVILLE, TN – A Hawkins County woman is charged with TennCare fraud for selling prescription drugs paid for by the state’s Medicaid program.

The Office of Inspector General (OIG) today announced the arrest of Brandi Gail Collins, 34, of Church Hill, after a joint investigation with the Church Hill Police Department.

Collins is charged with TennCare fraud in connection with obtaining prescriptions for the painkiller Oxycodone and Clonazepam, an anti-anxiety medication, while planning to unlawfully distribute a portion of the drugs.  TennCare paid for the office visit during which the prescriptions were procured.

“Local police, providers and citizens are working with us across the state to help eliminate prescription drug abuse, especially in the TennCare program,” Inspector General Deborah Faulkner said. “This has become one of the major targets of law enforcement and we are committed to eliminating prescription drug abuse in the TennCare program.”

TennCare fraud is a Class E felony carrying a sentence of up to two years in prison. District Attorney General C. Berkeley Bell 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."