A White County woman is charged with using TennCare to pay for a fraudulent prescription. The Office of Inspector General announced that 27-year old Jamie R. Helms, of Sparta, has been indicted on one count of TennCare fraud and one count of obtaining a controlled substance by fraud. Helms is accused of presenting a forged prescription for the painkiller Oxycontin and using TennCare to pay for the drugs. The White County Sheriff's Department assisted in Helms' arrest.
"Providers, law enforcement and state agencies are simply no longer tolerating this kind of abuse of TennCare, especially when it relates to addictive prescription painkillers," Inspector General Deborah Y. Faulkner said. "We're intent on prosecuting every one of these cases to the fullest extent possible."
TennCare fraud is a Class E felony carrying a sentence of up to two years in prison, and obtaining a controlled substance by fraud is a Class D felony, punishable by two to four years in prison. District Attorney General Randy A. York is prosecuting. The OIG, which is separate from TennCare, began full operation in February 2005 and has investigated cases leading to over $2.5 million paid in restitution and recoupment to TennCare, with a total estimated cost avoidance of over $171 million for the TennCare program, according to latest figures. To date, over 1,240 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."