Practice Protection in 4 Steps
It is always disturbing when we receive the phone call that an embezzlement is suspected in a practice. We wish it were something that could come to an end, but unfortunately it is happening in about 60% of the dental offices across the United States. So, what can we do? We can make it harder!
Having concluded several investigations recently has brought numerous things to the forefront of mind regarding risk management recommendations. Review these suggestions. They are relatively easy to implement in your office and can help you avoid an unpleasant situation.
ADJUSTMENTS: The less adjustments needed, the better! We like for our offices to think of adjustment as money being taken out of the practice’s bank account. All adjustments should include a note of what the adjustment is for and who authorized said adjustment. Many of our colleagues want patients to see the true fee of your practice and therefore the adjustment the patient is receiving. While we understand this concept, most practice management software can show this information to the patient, as well as send your UCR fees to the insurance company. Therefore, our recommendation is to use fee schedules when posting fees to the patient’s ledger to eliminate the number of adjustments posted to patient ledgers.
BALANCE: An end of day process should be done EVERY day, which means that you should balance at the end of EVERY day. This will ensure that the deposit that you are taking to the bank, matches the amount entered in your practice management system. There should also be a balance in place to ensure that everyone with an appointment today was charged for their services. Some software, like Eaglesoft, requires an End of Day to be completed to close out the day. If your software requires this…confirm it is done daily. As a follow up step, we recommend that the practice owner review the day sheet for accuracy. This will also help keep patient records accurate as to the procedures that were completed and money collected. If done on a daily basis, it should take about 10-15 minutes.
DAILY DEPOSITS should be created daily to go to the bank. Does this sound like a no-brainer? Apparently, it is a habit in many offices to make weekly deposits. If that is the case in your office, there should be a separate deposit per day. The doctor can deposit them weekly to the bank if desired, but when they go into the bank they will show as the daily deposit. This is very helpful when balancing your bank account with your practice management system at the end of the month.
STATEMENTS: The practice owner should require patient statements to be sent at a minimum of once a month. When statements are sent regularly, your patients will raise concerns if there are any problems with their account.
Although the statistics are high, criminal minds will always look for ways around the system. Putting measures in place to make it harder may send those criminals on down the road to easier targets.
If you have any questions, or could use assistance implementing the preceding recommendations, please reach out to me – Janice@GTSgurus.com. We would love to help you create a risk management protocol in your practice.
As a side note, we have a program called RAM (Risk Analysis & Monitoring) that provides an added measure to audit your accounts throughout the year.
Janice Janssen, RDH, CFE, Consultant
At age 14, Janice Janssen got an after-school job working for her dentist. Twenty-something years later, she is the co-founder of Global Team Solutions and an expert in practice consulting.
Besides hands-on experience, Janice has gained professional recognition for her hard work and commitment to excellence. She is co-author of OMG! Office Management Guide, the “bible” used in GTS training workshops. She is a member of the Academy of Dental Management Consultants (ADMC), and is a Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE), which positions her as an expert in educating dentists to deter fraud and embezzlement in their practice.
Janice can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org