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Shelby Co. Man Charged with TennCare Drug Fraud

Wednesday, May 09, 2018 | 03:40pm
050918LarryPalm

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – A Shelby County man is charged with doctor shopping for prescription drugs, using TennCare as payment for the pills.

The Office of Inspector General (OIG), with the assistance of the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office, today announced the arrest of Larry Palm, 51, of Memphis.

Palm is charged with five counts of TennCare doctor shopping – which involves using TennCare to visit multiple doctors in a short period of time to obtain prescriptions – in this case, for the painkiller Oxycodone.

“TennCare benefits are reserved for those truly in need. Using these benefits to fund the opioid epidemic will not be tolerated,” Inspector General Kim Harmon said.  “We appreciate the healthcare providers, law enforcement, and citizens who provide information about this type of TennCare fraud.”

District Attorney General Amy T. Weirich 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, 2,982 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.”