FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: LOLA POTTER
NASHVILLE, TN – A Davidson County woman is charged in Franklin County with TennCare fraud involving doctor shopping, or using TennCare to go to multiple doctors in a short time frame to obtain controlled substances.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG) today announced the arrest of Sherry Ryan, 32, of Nashville. A Franklin County Grand Jury charged her with three counts of fraudulently obtaining TennCare controlled substance benefits to which she was not entitled by doctor shopping. Ryan is accused of obtaining the painkiller Hydrocodone in physician office visits that were paid for by TennCare.
Ryan was served with the current charges at the Lincoln County Jail, where she is serving time after her first arrest for the same crime. She was arrested on December 15 of last year, when she was charged in Lincoln County with two counts of doctor shopping and two counts of obtaining a controlled substance by fraud. She pleaded guilty to the charges in March of this year, and was sentenced to six years in jail.
“The unauthorized use and abuse of prescription drugs is a serious crime,” Inspector General Deborah Faulkner said. “We are committed to ensuring that TennCare benefits are not used to jeopardize health and communities.”
TennCare fraud is a Class E felony carrying a sentence of up to two years per charge in prison. District Attorney General J. Michael Taylor is prosecuting the Franklin County case.
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, 2,077 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."