Hamilton County Woman Charged With TennCare Fraud

Monday, October 21, 2013
Joanna Killingsworth
Joanna Killingsworth

A Hamilton County woman has been charged with TennCare fraud involving doctor shopping - using TennCare healthcare insurance benefits to go to multiple doctors to obtain prescriptions for a controlled substance.

The Office of Inspector General (OIG) with assistance from the Hamilton County Sheriff, on Monday announced the arrest of Joanna E. Killingsworth, also known as Joanna E. McGee, 29, of Chattanooga.  She is charged with five counts of fraudulently using TennCare to obtain a controlled substance by doctor shopping, and five counts of obtaining a controlled substance by fraud. 

Ms. Killingsworth is accused of seeing two or more doctors within a 30-day period in an effort to receive prescriptions for controlled substances, with the physician office visits, prescriptions or both being paid for by TennCare.

“We are glad to have the doctor-shopping law available to go after people who are involved in this activity in the TennCare program,” Inspector General Deborah Faulkner said.  “Other states don’t have this kind of tool and it’s helped us weed out some of the prescription drug abuse in TennCare.

TennCare fraud is a Class E felony, carrying a sentence of up to two years in prison per charge.  Obtaining a controlled substance by fraud is a Class D felony, carrying a sentence of up to four years in prison if convicted. District Attorney General William H. Cox III 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 1,900 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."


Alexander Says Senate-Passed Bill Will Help Fight Zika, Keep Government, National Parks Open

Senator Lamar Alexander on Wednesday voted for legislation that will provide $1.1 billion to combat the spread of the Zika virus, keep government and national parks open and fund Pell grants for college students. The bill will keep the government open through  Dec. 9 . Senator Alexander said, “Senate Democrats deserve no praise today for finally relenting and allowing ... (click for more)

Uses For Discarded Glass To Be One Of Focuses Of Green/Spaces City Recycling Grant

Finding possible uses for discarded glass will be one of the focuses for Green/Spaces under a $40,000 grant from the city related to recycling. Justin Holland, city public works director, said glass is "the most challenging" aspect in recycling at this time due to the lack of markets for recycled glass. Green/Spaces is "to launch an expansive educational marketing campaign ... (click for more)

Jimmy Templeton Will Be Missed At The City Yards

If only we had known about the Chattanooga City Council's planned retirement send off for Jimmy Templeton of Public Works, the room would have been filled to overflowing with his friends and admirers - including me.   I have had the honor of knowing and working with Jimmy since the 1970's (and also knew his father "Big Jim").  Jimmy was a strong right hand for whoever ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Our 2.0 Embarrassment

Let’s pretend you are coming to a new and exciting world. You are on the jolly good ship “Mayflower” when some Miles Standish-type of a guy (he was the Pilgrim’s first cop) calls you into is presence and says, “Within two hours we are expected to stand on Plymouth Rock. Please come up with ten primary goals we should have in our public schools.” I believe you could do it within ... (click for more)

Signal Mountain Beats Red Bank On Senior Night

It was Senior Night at Signal Mountain on Wednesday as the Lady Eagles played their last regular-season volleyball match at home before they host next week’s District 7-AA tournament and all went pretty much as planned. It was a battle of regular-season district champions as the 6-AA queen Red Bank Lionettes provided the opposition for the 7-AA winning Lady Eagles. Signal ... (click for more)

Signal Mountain Wins 7-AA After Beating Notre Dame

The Signal Mountain Lady Eagles took care of business at home Tuesday night as they swept visiting Notre Dame by scores of 25-15, 25-19 and 25-19 to claim first place in District 7-AA with a 10-0 district mark and 30-8 overall. Audrie Johnson had 11 kills while Kate Barry added 17 digs and 11 assists.  Nicole Terfloth finished with 18 digs and three aces for the winners ... (click for more)