Hamilton Co. Woman Charged with TennCare Drug Fraud
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – A Hamilton County woman is charged with TennCare fraud for presenting forged prescriptions on four separate occasions to a local pharmacy and using TennCare to pay for the drugs.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG) with the assistance of the U.S. Marshall’s Office announced the arrest of Tonya Goode, 38, of Ooltewah. Goode is charged with four counts of TennCare fraud, four counts of obtaining a controlled substance by fraud and four counts of forgery.
"Eliminating the abuse of TennCare benefits, especially to obtain pain medications, is our number one priority," Acting Inspector General Lawrence S. Saylor, Jr., said. "Local police, providers and the healthcare community are with us in the effort to weed this problem out of the TennCare program."
TennCare Fraud and forgery are Class E Felonies, which carry a penalty of up to two years in prison per charge. Obtaining a controlled substance by fraud is a Class D Felony, which carries a penalty of up to four years in prison per charge. District Attorney General Neal Pinkston will be prosecuting.
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, 2,183 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."