|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 22, 2010
CONTACT: LOLA POTTER
NASHVILLE – A Sumner County woman has been indicted by a Trousdale County grand jury for TennCare fraud involving “doctor shopping,” or using TennCare to go to multiple doctors in a short time period to obtain prescriptions for a controlled substance.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG) with assistance from the Sumner and Trousdale Counties’ Sheriff’s Departments today announced the arrest of Bridgett S. Leonard, 35, of Bethpage. Leonard is charged with three counts of fraudulently using TennCare to obtain a controlled substance by “doctor shopping.”
The indictment alleges that Leonard went to multiple doctors in a 30-day period to obtain prescriptions for the strong painkiller Endocet, which is a form of Oxycodone, without disclosing to doctors that she already had a prescription for the drug. The physician office visits and prescriptions were paid for by TennCare.
"’Doctor shopping’ for drugs was a way of life for some people – until the state implemented a law to prosecute this crime when TennCare is involved,” Inspector General Deborah Faulkner said. “Medical professionals across the state have been helping us crack down on people committing this crime.”
TennCare fraud is a Class E felony carrying a sentence of up to two years per charge in prison. District Attorney General Tom P. Thompson, Jr., will be prosecuting this case.
The OIG, which is separate from TennCare, began full operation in February 2005 and has investigated cases leading to over $2.5 million paid in restitution and recoupment to TennCare, with a total estimated cost avoidance of over $171 million for the TennCare program, according to latest figures. To date, over 1,240 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."