Fraud. When you hear that word, do you have a feeling of panic come over you? Unfortunately, no one is immune to this. It happens everywhere; from personal attacks to the workplace. In the dental practice, especially, fraud can wreak havoc not only on your practice but also the relationships amongst the office staff. You cannot avoid fraud but let’s discuss some tips that will help it from occurring in your practice. First, let’s talk about why fraud occurs at all.
Usually, there isn’t an inherent need for someone to commit fraud but external circumstances occur that prompt it. Some external factors could be that an employee has encountered financial hardships, the employee is feeling like they are being treated differently by the doctor or manager, or an easy opportunity presented itself. These circumstances alone are enough for proper protocols to be put in place and followed to ensure that the likelihood of fraud occurring stays low.
When you hire a new staff member it is important to educate that person on the protocols you have in place regarding fraud. Make sure that the employee handbook clearly identifies what reasonable privacy rights the employee may have and proper ways to report possible fraud. Education is key in preventing fraud from occurring in the first place. Many times employees do not know what to do when they suspect it is occurring and simply just let it go. You do not want that in your practice!
In terms of reporting fraud, there can be ways that your employees report it and feel safe that they will remain anonymous. You can have an open-door policy, creating a tip box or folder, and ensuring that the employee will remain anonymous. If you can create the feeling of anonymity when reporting fraud, then you are already one step ahead of having any occur, or continue to occur.
Another way to deter fraud is having a zero tolerance policy. This policy should be upheld to everyone that is a part of the practice, including the doctor and management. Fraud should never be encouraged in the practice and by displaying that there is zero tolerance for it will help in preventing a potential person from committing fraud in the practice.
A very important step in keeping fraud from occurring in your practice is by not sharing what your methods are in conducting searches for fraud. If the staff knows the measures on how fraud is being detected, then they will do whatever they can to avoid detection. When you are doing an investigation or conducting measures to detect it, do those tasks after work once everyone goes home or when the office is closed.
Again, fraud can be scary and intimidating but putting proper protocols in place and conducting random investigations will help deter fraud from occurring. Just remember many resources are available to you, including Global Team Solutions. If you are suspecting an employee is committing fraud in your practice, Global Team Solutions offers fraud investigations. Please reach out to us if you have any questions.
Sylvie Haber, Consultant
Sylvie first entered the dental field through her mother, who is a dentist. She grew up attending conferences and many dental meetings. Watching her mother’s passion and love of dentistry, Sylvie grew to love the profession as well. After, she earned her MBA in Healthcare Administration from Loma Linda University. She completed the ADA ‘s Executive Program in Dental Management and also became a Fellow of the American Association of Dental Office Management. Sylvie enjoys seeing dental offices thrive, become more productive and run smoothly under her guidance through management and coaching.
Sylvie can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org