Anderson County Woman, On the Run for a Year, Charged with TennCare Fraud
NASHVILLE – After eluding authorities for the past year, an Anderson County woman has been arrested and charged in Williamson County for TennCare fraud involving “doctor shopping,” or using TennCare to go to multiple doctors in a short time period to obtain controlled substances.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG) today announced the arrest of Melissa Ann Adkins, 28, of Oliver Springs. On August 8, 2011, Adkins was indicted by a Williamson County Grand Jury on two counts of TennCare “doctor shopping” for the painkiller Oxycodone. After nearly a year, she was arrested in July while being held in the Roane County Jail on unrelated charges. Once those charges were dealt with, she was transported to the Williamson County Jail.
The charges against Adkins say that she obtained Oxycodone through clinical visits paid for by TennCare while failing to disclose to her healthcare provider that she had received the same or similar controlled substance from another provider, with the office visits being paid for by TennCare.
“The unauthorized use and abuse of prescription drugs is a serious public health problem,” Inspector General Deborah Faulkner said. “The Office of Inspector General is committed to ensuring the TennCare program is not misused or defrauded.”
TennCare fraud is a Class E felony carrying a sentence of up to two years per charge in prison. District Attorney General Kim R. Helper is prosecuting the Williamson 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."