Sullivan Co. Woman Charged with TennCare Fraud
NASHVILLE, TN - A Sullivan County woman is charged with TennCare fraud in connection with using the state’s healthcare insurance program to pay for fraudulent prescriptions for painkillers.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG), with assistance from Kingsport Police, today announced the arrest of Amber Price, 23, of Kingsport. She is charged with TennCare fraud, two counts of obtaining a controlled substance by fraud and one count of conspiracy to obtain controlled substance by fraud.
Charges accuse Price of presenting an altered diagnostic imaging report and patient profile to a physician in an effort to fraudulently obtain prescriptions for the painkiller Oxycodone and Alprazolam, an anti-anxiety medication. Price used TennCare benefits to pay for the fraudulent prescriptions, which she was not medically entitled to receive.
“Using TennCare to commit fraud and get prescription drugs is illegal and we’re prosecuting these cases across Tennessee,” Inspector General Deborah Faulkner said. “We’re intent on weeding this out of the TennCare program.”
TennCare fraud is a Class E felony carrying a sentence of up to two years in prison per charge, and obtaining a controlled substance by fraud is a Class D felony, punishable by two to four years in prison per charge. District Attorney General Barry Staubus 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 2,000 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."