Tammy Colbert Charged With TennCare Fraud

Thursday, September 04, 2014
Tammy Colbert
Tammy Colbert

A Hamilton County woman is charged with TennCare fraud involving doctor shopping, a crime that involves going to multiple doctors to obtain controlled substances, using TennCare as payment.

The Office of Inspector General (OIG) on Thursday announced the arrest of Tammy Colbert, 54, of Chattanooga.  The Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office assisted with the arrest. 

Ms. Colbert is charged with eight counts of fraudulently using TennCare to obtain controlled substances by doctor shopping, with the provider visits, prescriptions or both being paid for with TennCare.  In addition, Ms. Colbert was charged with seven counts of obtaining a controlled substance by fraud.

“Prescription drug fraud has been a significant burden on the health care system,” Acting Inspector General Lawrence S. Saylor, Jr., said.  “We’re committed to eliminating this crime in the TennCare program, and local police and providers across the state are working with us in the effort.”

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 that carries a penalty of up to four years in prison per charge.  District Attorney General Neal Pinkston 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 TennCare, according to latest figures.  To date, 2,174 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."

                                                                                        


2 People Critically Injured In North Chattanooga House Fire

For the second time in three days, a house fire has resulted in tragedy. At 10:13 a.m. on WednesdayChattanooga firefighters were dispatched to a reported house fire with entrapment at 220 Houser Street. The first firefighters on the scene saw flames shooting out windows and part of the roof. Having been told that people might still be inside, the firefighters grabbed hand-held hose ... (click for more)

Boyd Using $11,670 Of Discretionary Funds For Public Art At Brainerd Hills

County Commissioner Tim Boyd said he was using $11,670 of his "discretionary funds" to pay the final debt owed on a piece of public art that was installed in mid-April in Brainerd Hills. County Commission members get $100,000 per year to spend as they deem fit. Other commission members appeared to have no objection to the expenditure. He said members of the Brainerd Hills ... (click for more)

Why Ferguson Matters In Chattanooga

The recent verdict in Ferguson has thrown race relations in the spotlight again. It is far too easy to get caught up in the debate as to who was right. But the plain fact is that the community lost, the police force lost and the nation lost. So why does Ferguson matter in Chattanooga? Because a police force mainly composed of whites got into a conflict with a community mainly ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: A Grand Thanksgiving Feast

I’m not really sure how it all came about but a few days before Thanksgiving last year, what was usually a crowded table had dwindled down to just Mother, Aunt Martha and me. Just the idea of getting dressed up made both of them tired, which happens when you are 89 and 87, respectively, and the thought of preparing the traditional feast brought only further groans so I announced ... (click for more)

Maston, Cameron Power Tyner Past Hixson, 69-60

When Darren Maston transferred from Ooltewah to Tyner prior to last season, he was a role player on a team that had eight talented, experienced seniors. Now, Maston is being asked to fill an expanded role as a scorer and leader. He did both rather well Tuesday night as Tyner opened the 2014-15 season with a 69-60 District 6-AA victory over Hixson on the Wildcats’ floor. ... (click for more)

Unbeaten Soddy Daisy Rolls Past Rhea County

The Soddy Daisy Trojans remained unbeaten after four games in basketball, including Tuesday night's 70-31 romp over the visiting Rhea County Golden Eagles, but please keep in mind that Rhea County is still playing football and at least seven regulars on the basketball court are still trying to win a state title on the gridiron. Preston Pugh scored on a layup with 6:39 to play ... (click for more)