Hamilton Co. Woman Charged with TennCare Drug Fraud
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – A Hamilton County woman is charged with TennCare fraud in Rhea County, in charges accusing her of doctor shopping for prescription drugs, using TennCare as payment.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG) today announced the arrest of Melody Delong, 31, of Georgetown. She is charged with visiting multiple doctors in a short period of time in an effort to obtain controlled substances. Delong turned herself in to the Rhea County Sheriff’s Office.
"Unauthorized use of TennCare to obtain prescription drugs is a serious crime we are pursuing every day across the state," Inspector General Manny Tyndall said. "The Office of Inspector General is committed to ensuring TennCare benefits are not abused in this manner so that we preserve the program.”
TennCare fraud is a Class E felony, carrying a sentence of up to two years in prison. District Attorney General J. Michael Taylor is 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, 2,268 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."