Tennessee attorney general sues pain clinics, alleging fraud

In this photo released by the US Drug Enforcement Agency, DEA, and taken on Oct. 21, 2016, a sample of carfentanil is being analyzed at the DEA’s Special Testing and Research Laboratory in Sterling, Va. China is adding the deadly elephant tranquilizer carfentanil and three related synthetic opioids to its list of controlled substances effective March 1, China's National Narcotics Control Commission said Thursday. (Russell Baer/U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration via AP)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – The Tennessee attorney general is suing a chain of pain management clinics over claims of millions of dollars in TennCare fraud.

Attorney General Herbert Slatery announced the lawsuit Thursday against MMi Pain Clinics, which operated at least 18 clinics in Tennessee.

The lawsuit in Williamson County Circuit Court claims the pain clinic chain filed the fraudulent TennCare claims dating back to at least 2006.

The lawsuit alleges the clinics regularly subject patients to unnecessary medical procedures and on average received at least six times more in injection reimbursements due to the false claims.

The complaint says the chain’s owner, Michael Kestner, and business partner Dr. Lisabeth Williams knowingly filed fraudulent claims for personal financial gain.

The state is seeking $7 million in damages plus civil penalties, possibly tripling the amount.

(Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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