A Hamilton County woman is charged with TennCare “doctor shopping,” the crime of going to multiple physicians in a short period of time to obtain controlled substances, and using TennCare as payment.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG) announced the arrest of Sherry Watts Jennings, 59, of Chattanooga. She is charged with five counts of fraudulently using TennCare to obtain controlled substances by “doctor shopping” for Hydrocodone and Oxycodone, which are strong pain medications. The physician office visits were paid for by TennCare.
"We’re committed to getting fraud and abuse out of the TennCare program, especially when it comes to prescription drugs,” Inspector General Deborah Faulkner said.
"We will vigorously investigate and prosecute anyone who abuses or attempts to abuse the TennCare program.
TennCare fraud is a Class E felony carrying a sentence of up to two years in prison per charge. District Attorney General Bill Cox 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 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 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."