Nashville, TN – A Houston County woman is charged in Montgomery County with TennCare fraud for creating and filling fraudulent prescriptions, using TennCare as payment.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG) with the assistance of the 19th Judicial Drug Task Force today announced the arrest of Chrystal Hope Hastings, 44, of Erin, TN. She is charged with 31 counts of TennCare fraud and 25 counts of prescription drug fraud.
The charges against Hastings allege that from March through December of last year, she intentionally altered, made, completed, executed or authenticated prescriptions for the painkillers Hydrocodone and Oxycodone, using TennCare to pay for the forgeries.
“We want to make sure that TennCare is used to obtain controlled substances for legitimate edical purposes, but not for abuse,” Inspector General Manny Tyndall said. “We’ve worked to educate pharmacists and others on prescription fraud, as some drug abusers obtain prescription pads from legitimate doctors printed with a different call back number that is answered by an accomplice, and also computers are now being used to create prescriptions.”
District Attorney General John W. Carney is prosecuting. TennCare fraud is now a Class D felony punishable by up to four years in prison per charge.
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, 2,876 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.”