Putnam County Woman Charged 2nd Time with Doctor Shopping
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – A Putnam County woman is facing her second arrest “doctor shopping,” or going to multiple doctors in a short time period to obtain the same or similar controlled substances and using TennCare healthcare insurance benefits as payment.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG) today announced the arrest of 38-year old Misty Dawn Cook, of Monterey. She is charged in a Wilson County Indictment with four counts of fraudulently obtaining a controlled substance by “doctor shopping” for the painkiller Hydrocodone, using TennCare as payment. Cook was being held in the Putnam County Jail on unrelated charges and was transported to the Wilson County Jail where she was served with the indictment.
Cook was arrested just five months ago, in May of this year, after a Putnam County indictment, when she was charged with three counts of “doctor shopping” and three counts of obtaining a controlled substance by fraud. She pleaded guilty on October 10 to all four counts and was sentenced to two years supervised probation and ordered to pay all court costs and restitution.
District Attorney General Bryant C. Dunaway prosecuted this case.
“Prescription drug abuse is a concern of communities large and small across Tennessee,” Inspector General Manny Tyndall said. “With the help of providers, we’re sending a message that abusing TennCare will have serious repercussions.”
TennCare fraud is a Class E felony carrying a sentence of up to two years per charge in prison. Obtaining a controlled substance by fraud is a Class D felony that carries a sentence of up to four years in prison per charge. District Attorney General Tom P. Thompson will be prosecuting this case.
The OIG, which is separate from TennCare, began full operation in February 2005 and has investigated cases leading to over $5 million being repaid to TennCare, with a total estimated cost avoidance of over $176 million for TennCare, according to latest figures. To date, 2,197 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."