In another blow for taxpayers, Tennessee officials have announced the arrest of yet another person charged with TennCare fraud.
The Office of Inspector General, with help from the Henderson County Sheriff’s Office, this week announced the arrest of Paula Hutcherson, 50, of Parsons. Authorities charged her with two counts of TennCare fraud and five counts of obtaining and/or attempting to obtain a controlled substance by fraud, according to a press release.
“Hutcherson, who works in the medical field, called in a prescription for Ambien, a Schedule IV controlled substance, to a pharmacy by using the name of a provider she did not have permission to use and knowingly used the name of a TennCare enrollee in order to use their TennCare benefits to pay for the prescriptions,” the press release said.
District Attorney General Jody Pickens is prosecuting. TennCare fraud is a Class D felony punishable by up to four years in prison per charge, 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, 3,118 people have been charged with TennCare fraud, state officials wrote in the press release.
As The Tennessee Star reported, the number of people state officials have charged with TennCare fraud continues to grow, meaning state taxpayers still subsidize alleged waste, fraud, and abuse out of the program.
As The Star reported this month, a Mississippi woman allegedly committed more than $250,000 worth of TennCare fraud, according to Tennessee officials, and she must pay that money back.
As reported last month, the Bureau of TennCare overpaid more than $600,000 to a now-closed health care clinic in Madisonville.
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