A Henderson County woman was charged in nearby Decatur County with doctor shopping for prescription drugs, using TennCare healthcare insurance benefits as payment for the pills.
On May 14th, the Office of Inspector General (OIG), with assistance from the Decatur County Sheriff’s Department, announced the arrest of Julie R. Smith, 38, of Lexington. She is charged with using TennCare to doctor shop for the painkiller hydrocodone. Doctor shopping involves visiting multiple healthcare providers in a short time period to obtain multiple prescriptions for drugs. Smith is charged with one count of TennCare fraud by doctor shopping.
Smith was previously arrested in November 2018 in Madison County, when she was charged with six counts of doctor shopping for prescription drugs. She has since pleaded guilty to all six counts.
“Illegally obtaining controlled substances is a crime that Tennesseans will not tolerate,” Inspector General Kim Harmon said. “Fortunately, Tennessee laws deter TennCare benefits from being used to fund the opioid epidemic.”
District Attorney General Matt Stowe is prosecuting. TennCare fraud is a Class D felony punishable by up to four years in prison.
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, 3,085 people have been charged with TennCare fraud.