The Office of Inspector General (OIG), with help from officers of the Coffee County Sheriff and Manchester Police arrested Frances Faye Wise, 67 of Manchester. The charges stem from an investigation conducted by the Manchester Police Department.
Wise is charged with TennCare Fraud in connection with obtaining a prescription for the painkiller Hydrocodone, which was paid for by TennCare, and later selling a portion of the prescription for financial gain.
“The Manchester Police Department laid the groundwork for this case and asked for assistance, and that’s the kind of cooperation we’re building statewide,” Acting Inspector General Lawrence S. Saylor, Jr., said. “Local officers are usually the first point of contact with those who are committing TennCare fraud, and they want to get it off the streets as badly as we do.”
District Attorney General Craig Northcutt will prosecute. If convicted, Wise could serve up to two years for the TennCare fraud which is a Class E felony.
The OIG, which is separate from TennCare, began full operation in February 2005 and has investigated cases leading to over $3.5 million paid in restitution and recoupment to TennCare, with a total estimated cost avoidance of over $173 million for TennCare, according to latest figures. To date, 2,173 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.”
Prescription drug abuse has become the biggest substance abuse problem faced by the State of Tennessee.
More people die from abusing prescription medication than they do on our state’s highways. But only one out of eight people get the help they need.
According to the Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, over the past decade, substance abuse admissions for prescription drugs, like hydrocodone, oxycodone, morphine and methadone have increased 500 percent.
Officials say as of July 2012, the number of admissions for prescription drug abuse exceeded admissions for alcohol abuse for the first time in history.