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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 24, 2013

 
CONTACT: LOLA POTTER
615.532.8560 (OFFICE)
    
     

COCKE CO. WOMAN CHARGED WITH TENNCARE DOCTOR SHOPPING

NASHVILLE, TN - A Cocke County woman is charged in nearby Greene County with TennCare fraud involving doctor shopping, or using TennCare to go to multiple doctors to obtain controlled substances.

The Office of Inspector General (OIG), with the assistance of the Greene County Sheriff´s Office, today announced the arrest of Diamond Ahrens, 20, of Newport. Ahrens is charged with two counts of fraudulently using TennCare to obtain controlled substances by doctor shopping for the pain reliever Tramadol. The physician office visits were paid for with TennCare benefits.

"The unauthorized use and abuse of prescription drugs is intolerable, especially when TennCare is involved," Inspector General Deborah Faulkner said. "We will continue to aggressively investigate and prosecute anyone who illegally uses the TennCare program, particularly as it relates to prescription drugs."

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, over 1,900 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."