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Anderson Co. Woman, On the Run for 9 Months, Charged with "Doctor Shopping"

Monday, July 23, 2012 | 09:17am

NASHVILLE –An Anderson County woman is charged with TennCare “doctor shopping” in nearby Roane County, after being on the run from authorities for the past nine months. “Doctor shopping” involves using TennCare to go to multiple physicians in a short period of time to obtain prescription drugs.

The Office of Inspector General (OIG) today announced the arrest of Melissa Ann Adkins, 28, of Oliver Springs. Adkins is charged with two counts of “doctor shopping,” obtaining the painkiller Oxycodone through visits to multiple doctors, paid for by TennCare.  Adkins was being held in the Anderson County Jail on unrelated charges, and was later transported to Roane County to be served with TennCare fraud charges.

“The unauthorized use and abuse of prescription drugs is not a crime we have to accept; we can do something about it when TennCare is involved,” Inspector General Deborah Faulkner said. “The Office of Inspector General is committed to ensuring TennCare benefits are not being used in this type of criminal activity.”

TennCare fraud is a Class E felony carrying a sentence of up to two years per charge in prison.   District Attorney General Russell Johnson is prosecuting.

The OIG, which is separate from TennCare, began full operation in February 2005 and has investigated cases leading to over $3.5 million paid in restitution and recoupment to TennCare, with a total estimated cost avoidance of over $173 million for the TennCare program, according to latest figures.  To date, over 1,700 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."