NASHVILLE – Both January and February were record months for the agency that pursues fraud in the ranks of TennCare, the public healthcare insurance program for people who are low-income or disabled.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG) made a total of 42 arrests for TennCare fraud in the first two months of the year, with most of the arrests involving prescription drugs. That’s more than in any other two-month period in the agency’s seven years of operation.
The latest arrest involves a Washington County man, who is charged with TennCare fraud for helping someone else gain access to TennCare benefits they weren’t eligible for. With the assistance of the Carter County and Washington County Sheriff’s Offices, the OIG announced the arrest of Michael Miller, Jr., 24, of Johnson City.
Miller was indicted by a Washington County Grand Jury and charged with TennCare fraud for aiding and abetting another person who was not eligible for TennCare in an effort to fraudulently obtain medical assistance benefits through the program.
“We hope those that are abusing the TennCare program are getting the message that we are aggressively pursuing TennCare fraud and making arrests statewide,” Inspector General Deborah Y. Faulkner said.
TennCare fraud is a Class E felony carrying a sentence of up to two years in prison. District Attorney General Anthony Clark is prosecuting.
OIG, which is separate from TennCare, began full operation in February 2005 and has investigated cases leading to over $2.5 million paid in restitution and recoupment to TennCare, with a total estimated cost avoidance of over $171 million for the TennCare program, according to latest figures. To date, over 1,300 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."