Cocke Co. Woman Charged for a 3rd Time with TennCare "Doctor Shopping"
NASHVILLE – A Cocke County woman is charged for the third time with “doctor shopping” for drugs, using TennCare as payment. The Office of Inspector General (OIG), with the assistance of Cocke and Hamblen County Sheriff’s Officers, today announced the arrest of 23-year old Desiree L. McIntyre, of Newport.
She was indicted by a Hamblen Grand Jury on four counts of fraudulently using TennCare to obtain a controlled substance by “doctor shopping.” McIntyre failed to disclose to her doctor that she had seen multiple physicians, receiving similar prescriptions for the strong painkillers Lortab and Oxycodone. TennCare was used to pay for the office visits. She was being held in the Cocke County Jail on unrelated charges when she was transferred to the Hamblen County Jail to be served on the TennCare fraud charge.
Just last month, McIntyre was arrested and charged in Sevier County with two counts of doctor shopping for using TennCare to pay for multiple office visits to get prescription drugs. Her first doctor shopping arrest was on May 3, after a Cocke County indictment charged her with two counts of doctor shopping.
“Prescription drug abuse can drive people to do things that they know will catch up with them, and will have a serious impact on their lives,” Inspector General Deborah Y. Faulkner said. “Many times, being in jail can be the first step to getting out of the cycle of abusing and illegally selling drugs.”
TennCare fraud is a Class E felony carrying a sentence of up to two years per charge in prison. District Attorney General C. Berkeley Bell will be prosecuting the Hamblen County case.
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."