Embezzlement is something no one expects will ever impact his or her practice. It is something that happens to others, right? Sadly, it happens to many dentists, usually by someone they trust the most. Embezzlement is not something that can be prevented 100 percent of the time, but at least you can take steps to help reduce the risk of someone embezzling from your practice.
Here are some precautionary actions you as a practice owner can adopt to help you avoid becoming the victim of embezzlement:
1. Remember, only you should . . .
- Pick up the practice mail. (No one touches it but you.)
- Sort the office mail.
- Open all insurance EOB’s.
- Remove all insurance payment checks.
- Handle checks/deposits.
- Complete and process all bank deposits.
2. Other safety precautions to take:
- Always use a bank scanner to handle checks/deposits.
- Don’t issue returns or refunds on credit cards, issue checks instead.
- Scan into patient charts the driver’s licenses for all parents making payments.
- Make photocopies of all personal checks collected and add them to the day sheet.
- Review day sheets daily, go over daily deposits and all payments and then verify they are correct.
- Don’t allow anyone other than the doctor to make any adjustments or refunds in a patient ledger.
- Keep all financial records in a locked cabinet at your office.
- Install security cameras in your office where financials are kept.
- Keep an Excel spreadsheet recording all cash payments; compare this file daily/weekly/monthly to make sure all cash in the practice is accounted for.
Within my practice, I have implemented a system that incorporates each of these actions. The system does not guarantee that my practice will never be embezzled. However, I know that I have done my best and practiced due diligence in preventing embezzlement from occurring in the future.