Tipton County Woman Charged with TennCare Drug Fraud

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.A Tipton County woman is charged with TennCare fraud in connection with the sale of prescription drugs paid for by the state’s health care insurance program, according to a press release from the Tennessee Department of Finance and Administration.

The Office of Inspector General (OIG), with the assistance of the Tipton County Sheriff’s Office, this week announced the arrest of Ursula Patrice Adams also known as Ursula Patrice Ponder, 51, of Covington, Tenn. She is accused of obtaining the dangerous opiate Fentanyl, and on two separate occasions, she allegedly sold a portion of the drugs during an undercover investigation. According to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, fentanyl is 80 to 100 times more potent than morphine.

Adams is charged with two counts of TennCare fraud, one count of delivery of a Schedule II controlled substance and one count of casual exchange of a Scheduled II controlled substance. The prescriptions were obtained through Medicare Part B which is paid for in part by TennCare, the press release said.

“Tennessee has an opioid problem and we are working with local law enforcement to combat it,” Inspector General Kim Harmon said. “These drugs are deadline, as families across our state are aware. Using TennCare benefits to promote the opioid problem will not be tolerated.”

District Attorney General Mark E. Davidson is prosecuting. TennCare fraud is a Class D felony punishable by up to four years in prison, the press release said.

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, 3,074 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.”

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Chris Butler is an investigative journalist at The Tennessee Star. Follow Chris on Facebook. Email tips to chrisbutlerjournalist@gmail.com.
Photo “Tipton County Courthouse” by Thomas R Machnitzki.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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