Chattanooga woman charged with TennCare fraud

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Ashley Patterson is charged with six counts of TennCare fraud after visiting multiple healthcare providers to obtain prescriptions for the painkiller Hydrocodone. (Images: Hamilton Co. Jail / MGN)

The Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office has charged a Chattanooga woman with doctor shopping for prescription drugs, using TennCare as payment for the pills.

Ashley Patterson is charged with six counts of TennCare fraud after investigators say she visited several healthcare providers to get prescriptions for the painkiller Hydrocodone.

TennCare fraud is a Class D felony punishable by up to four years in prison.

“Tennessee is fortunate to have the laws and the authority to pursue people who are doctor shopping for drugs, whether it’s for personal use or with the intent of distribution,” Inspector General Manny Tyndall said. “We intend to pursue these cases with all of our resources.”

District Attorney General Neal Pinkston is prosecuting.

The OIG investigations lead to more than $3 million being repaid to TennCare since it began full operation in February 2005. The total estimated cost avoidance is more than $163.6 million for TennCare, according to latest figures. To date, 2,852 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 visit the website and follow the prompts that read “Report TennCare Fraud.”