NASHVILLE (press release)—A Knox County man is charged with TennCare fraud involving doctor shopping, or using TennCare to go to multiple providers in a short time period to obtain controlled substances.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG), with the assistance of the Knox County Sheriff’s Office, announced the arrest of Richard Lee Johnson, 34, of Knoxville. He is charged with nine counts of fraudulently using TennCare to obtain controlled substances by doctor shopping. TennCare paid for either the clinical visits or the prescriptions.
“Reducing the unauthorized use and abuse of prescription drugs is a target of law enforcement and healthcare providers across the state,” Inspector General Manny Tyndall said. “We’re committed to ensuring that TennCare benefits are not abused in a manner that jeopardizes public health.”
TennCare fraud is a Class E felony carrying a sentence of up to two years in prison per charge. District Attorney General Charme P. Allen is prosecuting.
The OIG, which is separate from TennCare, began full operation in February 2005 and has investigated cases leading to over $3 million being repaid to TennCare, with a total estimated cost avoidance of over $163.6 million for TennCare, according to latest figures. To date, 2,395 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 Office of Inspector General and follow the prompts that read “Report TennCare Fraud.”