|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
FRIDAY, JULY 10, 2009
CONTACT: LOLA POTTER
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – A Tipton County woman has been charged in Lauderdale County with using someone else’s TennCare benefits to get medical treatment.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG) today announced the arrest of Carmen Yelvington, 22, of Covington. Ripley Police Chief Landis Garrison led the investigation along with Sgt. Mike Kilpatrick. Yelvington had a court appearance on her impersonation charges at which time she was placed under arrest by the Ripley Police Department.
Yelvington has been charged with one count of TennCare fraud, for using another person’s TennCare benefits when seeking treatment at eye clinic in Ripley, Tennessee.
“TennCare healthcare insurance is important for people who are eligible for the program, and we’re committed to preserving TennCare’s integrity,” Inspector General Deborah Y. Faulkner said. “Fraud or abuse of TennCare in any form is not tolerated by taxpayers or local officials and providers.”
Fraudulently obtaining TennCare medical benefits is a Class E felony that carries a maximum penalty of two years in prison. District Attorney Michael Dunavant 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."