Tennessee Officials Announce a Slew of New TennCare Arrests

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Tennessee officials have announced the arrests of five people charged with TennCare fraud.

According to press releases state officials put out this week:

• Authorities charged a Sullivan County woman with TennCare fraud in connection with the sale of prescription drugs obtained through the state’s health care insurance program, according to a press release.

The Office of Inspector General with the assistance of the Kingsport Police Department, arrested Pamela A. Mendenhall, 50, of Kingsport. Authorities accused her of using TennCare to obtain the painkiller Oxycodone, then selling a portion of the drugs on three separate occasions. Authorities charged her with three counts of TennCare fraud, sale and delivery of Oxycodone within 1,000 feet of a park, sale and delivery of Oxycodone within 1,000 feet of a school and maintaining a dwelling where controlled substances are used or sold. Mendenhall allegedly obtained the prescriptions through Medicare Part B, which TennCare partly pays for.

• Authorities charged a Shelby County woman with TennCare fraud involving doctor shopping, which involves visiting multiple doctors in a short period of time to obtain controlled substances, a press release said. The OIG, with the assistance of the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office, announced the arrest of Cassundra Woodman, 28, of Memphis. She is charged with three counts of fraudulently using TennCare to obtain controlled substances by doctor shopping and one count of theft of property. An indictment says she allegedly used TennCare to doctor shop for prescriptions for the painkillers Oxycodone and Hydrocodone.

• A Davidson County woman charged with TennCare fraud must repay the state for benefits allegedly received through the healthcare insurance program in a plea deal in Shelby County, according to Tennessee officials. The OIG announced that 49-year old Undrea Harden of Nashville must repay TennCare $18,896.90 and serve three years of judicial diversion in exchange for her plea. Harden was indicted in August of 2017 in Shelby County for TennCare fraud and theft of property over $10,000. Officials said she allegedly and falsely reported her income to the state in order to obtain TennCare healthcare and prescription drug benefits. She otherwise would not have qualified for the program, according to a press release.

• A Southaven, Miss. woman was charged with TennCare fraud for falsely and allegedly reporting that she was living in Tennessee in order to obtain benefits from the taxpayer-funded healthcare insurance program, a press release said. The OIG with the assistance of sheriff’s officers in Shelby County and Desoto County, Mississippi announced the arrest of Mekila Stokes-Reece, 35, of Southaven, Miss. She is charged in an indictment with TennCare fraud and theft of property over $10,000 for reporting to the state that she lived in Tennessee when she was actually residing in Southaven, Miss.

• A Hamilton County woman is charged with TennCare fraud in connection with allegedly using another person’s identity in order to obtain controlled substances. The OIG with assistance from the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office, announced the arrest of Angela Walton, 50, of Chattanooga. She’s charged in a Hamilton County indictment with TennCare fraud for allegedly filling a prescription for a deceased TennCare enrollee, receiving pharmacy benefits she was not entitled to receive, according to a press release.

The OIG, which is separate from TennCare, began full operation in February 2005 and has investigated cases leading to more than $3 million being repaid to TennCare, with a total estimated cost avoidance of more than $163.6 million for TennCare, according to latest figures. To date, 3,073 people have been charged with TennCare fraud, the press releases said.

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.”

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Chris Butler is an investigative journalist at The Tennessee Star. Follow Chris on Facebook. Email tips to chrisbutlerjournalist@gmail.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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3 Thoughts to “Tennessee Officials Announce a Slew of New TennCare Arrests”

  1. Terrie Shrum

    And my grandson who has Crouzon Syndrome can’t get Cover Kids because they say his mom and dad make too much. He on his own with his disability ahould be able to get SSI and Tenncare. .They did not ask for them or their second child only for Levi and was turned down. He really needs it with all of the surgeries he has to have.He could not even get it to supplement the insurance they have. Unreal.

  2. 83ragtop50

    More reasons not to expand the wasteful TennCare mess.

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