FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: LOLA POTTER
NASHVILLE, TN – A Hamblen County man is charged with TennCare fraud involving “doctor shopping,” or using TennCare to go to multiple healthcare providers in a short period of time to obtain controlled substances.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG), with the assistance of the Hamblen County Sheriff’s Office, today announced the arrest of Brian Hedrick, 43, of Morristown. He is charged with six counts of fraudulently using TennCare to obtain controlled substances by “doctor shopping.” Hedrick used TennCare benefits to pay for the clinical visits or for payment of the controlled substances.
"We are getting the word out that abuse of TennCare to access narcotics, painkillers or any prescription drugs is not tolerated," Acting Inspector General Robert White said. "Doctors, pharmacies and local law enforcement agencies are helping us in aggressively pursuing drug fraud within the TennCare program."
TennCare fraud is a Class E felony, carrying a sentence of up to two years in prison per charge. 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, 2,124 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."