Sullivan Co. Woman Charged with TennCare Fraud

Friday, May 19, 2017 | 09:27am

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – A Sullivan County woman is charged with TennCare fraud in connection with the sale of prescription drugs paid for by the state’s healthcare insurance program.

The Office of Inspector General (OIG), with the assistance of Kingsport Police officers, today announced the arrest of Joanne Louise Bamman, 57, of Kingsport. She’s accused of obtaining the painkiller Oxycodone and subsequently selling a portion to an undercover informant on two separate occasions. The prescription was obtained through Medicare Part B, which is paid for in part by TennCare.

Bamman is charged with two counts each of sale and delivery of a Schedule II controlled substance and two counts of TennCare fraud.

“We are working with local police and it’s paying off with these kinds of arrests,” Inspector General Manny Tyndall said. “Tennessee consistently ranks high among states for prescription drug use, especially pain relievers, and we’re committed to eliminating drug fraud within TennCare.”

District Attorney General Barry P. Staubus is prosecuting.  TennCare fraud is now a Class D felony punishable by up to four years in prison.

The OIG, which is separate from TennCare, began full operation in February 2005 and has investigated cases leading to more than $3 million being repaid to TennCare, with a total estimated cost avoidance of more than $163.6 million for TennCare, according to latest figures. To date, 2,840 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 visit the website and follow the prompts that read “Report TennCare Fraud.”