|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
WEDNESDAY, JUNE 17, 2009
CONTACT: LOLA POTTER
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Two people in Coffee County have been charged in separate cases with TennCare fraud.
Brown is charged with seven counts of fraudulently using TennCare to obtain controlled substances by “doctor shopping,” which is the act of going to multiple doctors in a short period of time to obtain prescriptions, usually for painkillers. According to the indictment, Brown failed to disclose to his doctor that he had seen other physicians within a 30-day period, receiving prescriptions for the strong painkillers oxycodone and hydrocodone.
Terri A. Maxwell is charged with two counts of TennCare fraud for using TennCare to pay for fraudulent prescriptions. According to the indictment, Maxwell used TennCare to pay for fraudulent prescriptions written for the painkillers hydrocodone and promethazine, an antihistamine that can be used as a sedative because it causes drowsiness as a side effect.
“Providers, local law enforcement officials, and state agencies no longer tolerate this kind of abuse of TennCare, especially when it relates to addictive prescription painkillers,” Inspector General Deborah Y. Faulkner said. “The tactics of people trying to get prescription drugs by fraudulent means are familiar to doctors and pharmacies and they are helping us identify these cases for prosecution.”
If convicted, both Brown and Maxwell could each spend up to two years in prison per charge. District Attorney General C. Michael Layne will prosecute.
The OIG, which is separate from TennCare, began full operation in February 2005 and has investigated cases leading to over $2.6 million paid in restitution and recoupment to TennCare, with a total estimated cost avoidance of over $165 million for the TennCare program, according to latest figures. To date, over 920 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."