FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: LOLA POTTER
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - A Dyer County woman is charged with TennCare fraud involving doctor shopping, or using the state’s Medicaid benefits to go to multiple providers in a short period of time in order to obtain controlled substances.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG), with assistance from the Dyer County Sheriff’s Office and the Dyersburg Police Department, today announced the arrest of 37-year old Adrienne Karathanasis, of Newbern.
She is charged with using TennCare to obtain controlled substances by doctor shopping for the painkiller Hydrocodone, using TennCare as payment.
"The fraudulent misuse of prescription drugs is simply no longer being tolerated by communities and citizens," Acting Inspector General Lawrence S. Saylor, Jr., said. "Healthcare providers and local law enforcement officers across the state are working with us to investigate and prosecute these types of crimes."
TennCare fraud is a Class E felony, carrying a sentence of up to two years in prison. District Attorney General Phillip Bivens 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 TennCare, according to latest figures. To date, 2,171 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."