TennCare employees have fun day on taxpayers dime

How's this for a job assignment: Play golf, have a scavenger hunt, and play softball.

That's what the entire TennCare bureau did this week, and you, the taxpayers of Tennessee, paid for it.

But what TennCare didn't know is hidden cameras were there and caught the entire event, on tape.

The video shows TennCare employees -more than 100- playing or watching softball on the clock. They were even cheered on by Titans cheerleaders.

It was just one of many recreational events during TennCare's "Fun and Fitness" week, a week subsidized by your tax dollars.

This is the schedule of events:

Monday - employees began at 9:30 a.m. with a fitness walk, then a game show and electronic trivia.

Tuesday- Golf, indoors or out, and more electronic trivia games.

Wednesday - a scavenger hunt.

Thursday- Softball game began at 2:30.

All these activities were during normal work hours.

Does the boss know about this?  He sure does. TennCare's CEO, Darin Gordon, was seen throwing out the first pitch.

The Bureau's public relations department appeared not to expect television cameras to show up for fun and fitness week.

When asked if the people were on the clock, TennCare Public Relations Director Chris Garrett responded, "Yes, it is. The whole purpose behind fun and fitness is having the right decisions for people's health and that's one of the things we're trying to do with the event this week."

"The activities you're talking about, by and large, are taking place during break times for employees," added Garrett.

Fun and fitness only during their time off? Let's look at that schedule again: that game show - from 9:30 to 12:30. A four-hour-break?

Golf from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm? That's a pretty long lunch hour.

When asked what time people take breaks Garett responded, "Different people take breaks at different times."

TennCare topped off its fun and fitness week with a cookie bake off and a picnic.

Garrett insists that it's a good idea for taxpayer. So what work did not get done at TennCare this week?

The bureau's public relations department wouldn't give an answer, and a spokesperson said he was too busy to talk.

However, a document delivered to our sister station in Nashville shows TennCare was facing an important deadline this week with the federal government.

They asked for an extension.

TennCare is a $7 billion dollar a year program that provides medical coverage for low-income and disabled Tennesseans.