Sullivan Co. Woman Charged with TennCare Drug Fraud
NASHVILLE, Tenn. –– A Sullivan County woman is charged with TennCare fraud in connection with the sale of prescription drugs obtained through the state’s health care insurance program.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG), with the assistance of the Kingsport Police Department, today announced the arrest of Pamela A. Mendenhall, 50, of Kingsport. She is accused of using TennCare to obtain the painkiller Oxycodone, then selling a portion of the drugs on three separate occasions. As a result, she is charged with three counts of TennCare fraud, sale and delivery of Oxycodone within 1,000 feet of a park, sale and delivery of Oxycodone within 1,000 feet of a school and maintaining a dwelling where controlled substances are used or sold. The prescriptions were obtained through Medicare Part B which is partly paid for by TennCare.
“Local law enforcement agencies are working hard with us to combat Tennessee’s opioid problem,” Inspector General Kim Harmon said. “Using TennCare benefits to promote the opioid problem will not be tolerated.”
District Attorney General Barry Staubus is prosecuting. TennCare fraud is 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, 3,071 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.”