Monday, November 20, 2017 | 4:32pm
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – A Houston County woman is charged for a second time with TennCare fraud involving prescription drugs.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG) with the assistance of the Houston County Sheriff’s Office today announced the arrest of Chrystal H. Hastings, 44, of Erin. Hastings is charged with four counts of TennCare fraud for presenting forged prescriptions for the painkiller Oxycodone, using TennCare healthcare insurance benefits to pay for the forgeries.
Hastings was first arrested this past July in Montgomery County when she was charged with 31 counts of TennCare fraud and 25 counts of prescription drug fraud. Those charges allege that she intentionally altered, made, completed, executed or authenticated prescriptions for the painkillers Hydrocodone and Oxycodone, using TennCare to pay for the forgeries.
“Opioid deaths in Tennessee have been increasing more each year, but we are cracking down on the misuse and abuse of these drugs when TennCare is involved,” Inspector General Manny Tyndall said. “We’re working with doctors and pharmacists across the state to eliminate this activity in TennCare.”
District Attorney General W. Ray Crouch, Jr., is prosecuting. TennCare fraud is a now 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, 2,920 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 800-433-3982 toll-free from anywhere in Tennessee, or visit the website and follow the prompts that read “Report TennCare Fraud.”