Ophelia Ford Faces TennCare Investigation - NewsChannel5.com | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

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Ophelia Ford Faces TennCare Investigation

She has quickly become one of Tennessee's most controversial state senators.

Now, state Sen. Ophelia Ford finds herself at the center of another controversy.

NewsChannel 5 has confirmed that the Memphis Democrat is the subject of an investigation that, depending upon what agents find, could lead to criminal charges.

It's a NewsChannel 5 Investigates exclusive, uncovered by our chief investigative reporter Phil Williams.

Sources tell Phil that the investigation centers on possible TennCare fraud and is being conducted by TennCare's inspector general.

Sen. Ford's personal struggles have put her in the spotlight recently.

But this investigation focuses on how she came to be enrolled in the state's TennCare health insurance program prior to her election to the Senate in 2005.

Sources say Ford -- who is a licensed insurance agent -- was enrolled in TennCare for what may have been a 10-year-period.

Among the questions investigators are asking:

  • Did she have access to health insurance -- either through the Ford family's funeral home or through her insurance business?
  • Also, what was her income when she enrolled?
  • And was she truthful about all that when she applied for TennCare?

Her brother Joe Ford confirmed that TennCare's inspector general did subpoena payroll records from the funeral home -- which he says does offer health insurance to its employees.

Asked whether the senator might have committed TennCare fraud, he said he had no way of knowing.

NewsChannel 5 tried to reach her without success.

Joe Ford says the last time he saw her, she was in the hospital.

Sen. Ford has certainly had her troubles in recent weeks.

  • May 14: She went on a tirade aimed at Childrens Services officials appearing before a Senate committee.
  • May 15: Ford was taken to a Nashville hospital after apparently falling off a bar stool at a downtown hotel.
  • May 22: She was accused of assaulting a Nashville taxi driver.
  • June 24: She was taken to a Memphis hospital, after telling 9-1-1 that she hadn't eaten in a week

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