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McMinn County Woman Charged with TennCare Drug Fraud

Thursday, February 08, 2018 | 12:05pm
Pamela Huston

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – – A McMinn County woman is charged in nearby Bradley County with doctor shopping for prescription drugs, using TennCare healthcare insurance benefits as payment.

The Office of Inspector General (OIG, with the assistance of officers from Etowah along with McMinn County and Bradley County Sheriffs’ Offices, today announced the arrest of Pamela J. Huston, 49, of Etowah. A Bradley County Grand Jury charged Huston with three counts of fraudulently obtaining a controlled substance by doctor shopping, which involves going from doctor to doctor in a short period of time to obtain drugs; in this case, the drug was the painkiller Oxycodone.

Huston was first arrested in December, when she was charged in McMinn County with two counts of TennCare fraud by doctor shopping for the painkillers Hydrocodone and Oxycodone, using TennCare as payment.

“Obtaining prescription drugs illegally utilizing TennCare benefits will not be tolerated,” Inspector General Kim Harmon said. “We appreciate the collaborative efforts of the local law enforcement agencies and healthcare providers across the state working together to fight the opioid epidemic in Tennessee.”

District Attorney General Stephen D. Crump is prosecuting.  TennCare fraud is a Class D felony punishable by up to four years in prison per charge.

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, 2,954 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 800-433-3982 toll-free from anywhere in Tennessee, or visit the website and follow the prompts that read “Report TennCare Fraud.”