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Knox Co. Man Charged with TennCare Drug Fraud

Thursday, January 29, 2015 | 12:00am

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – A Knox County man is charged with TennCare fraud involving doctor shopping, which involves using the state healthcare program benefits to obtain prescriptions for controlled substances.

The Office of Inspector General (OIG), with the assistance of the Knox County Sheriff’s Office, today announced the arrest of Eddie J. Hammond, 51, of Knoxville.  He is charged with three counts of fraudulently using TennCare by visiting multiple doctors in a short period of time to obtain controlled substances.

"Doctor shopping and using TennCare benefits with a doctor or pharmacy is a crime we are aggressively pursuing, because state tax dollars are being used to pay for drugs intended for distribution or abuse,” Inspector General Manny Tyndall said. “We appreciate and value the hard work of the healthcare providers across the state and their efforts in helping us develop these cases.”

TennCare fraud is a Class E felony, carrying a sentence of up to two years in prison. District Attorney General Charme P. Allen is prosecuting.

The OIG, which is separate from TennCare, began full operation in February 2005 and has investigated cases leading to over $3 million being repaid to TennCare, with a total estimated cost avoidance of over $163.6 million for TennCare, according to latest figures.  To date, 2,272 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 Office of Inspector General and follow the prompts that read "Report TennCare Fraud."