Dental Fraud, Don’t Be the Next Victim..
Feb 20, 2014
Embezzlement in dentistry is becoming more common. The longer you practice, the more likely it is that you will become a victim. This is an uncomfortable subject for most dentists, but it is the ugly truth. Embezzlement is costing U.S. businesses billions annually, according to the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners. Dental groups are more at risk, since they rely on office managers and front desk staff to handle collecting, depositing, and disbursing money.
Attributes of a typical embezzler: • Doctor trusts them implicitly • Very Intelligent • Loyal and long-term employee
Warning signs: • Gets annoyed at reasonable questions being asked about bookkeeping • Refuses to or makes excuses to avoid generating a report(s) you request • Resists changes
How they embezzle: • They steal cash so it’s hard to prove • They make adjustments to patients accounts • They open bank accounts in the practice name • They pay their own bills with practice checks.
Ways to prevent it: • Check references when hiring, do background checks, drug tests and credit checks on all applicants. • Personally sign your own checks and do not sign checks without an official invoice attached. • Do not have a signature stamp in the office • Get a carbon copy receipt book; be sure a receipt is issued every time cash is received. Post a sign indicating to the patient they should receive a receipt. • Get a “For deposit only” stamp and make a policy that every check that comes into the office is stamped immediately. Including those that come through the mail. (Periodically check to ensure this is being done) • Always investigate any patient complaints related to account balance differences thoroughly. • Make sure each employee has their own user id and password, this way you can identify patterns of errors or suspicious items. • Have all bank and credit card statements mailed to the doctors home, and look at them! Look for duplicate payments, or any items that you do not recognize. • Make bank deposits daily • Thoroughly review details for any patient refunds being issued. • Force employees to take vacation in a block of at least 3-5 days. • Review daily sheet to ensure everything ties out and run an adjustments report for all adjustments made to patient accounts and question the adjustments.
If the employees know the doctor is reviewing things and looking at them closely on a regular basis will reduce your risk of fraud. Check out our End Fraud Now program to learn how to prevent your practice from becoming a victim.
By: Jenny Furey, CPA
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