You can take these necessary steps to prevent embezzlement in your dental office. It is well worth the money, time, and effort to make sure your practice is profitable and thriving instead of a sinking ship.

  1. Mandatory background checks on all employees – Employees have access to confidential information including insurance claims, confidential patient information, banking information, and money.  Each employee should undergo a background check that includes criminal and credit information. You MUST check employee’s previous employers for references with their consent. 
  2. Have daily financial checks in place – Employees are very aware of the office’s day-to-day operations.  They know how much money comes in daily and which patients pay with cash, check, or credit card.  They also know how much money comes in daily from insurance companies.
    • You must have a policy that describes each employee’s complete daily, weekly and monthly job responsibilities.  Make sure to have each employee sign and date this policy.  The dentist is the one who takes responsibility for making sure the jobs have been completed and the numbers match.
    • The dentist MUST understand the Dentrix software that they are using in the office. If you do not know the system, you will not be able to do periodic reviews to ensure your numbers are correct. Remember, employees know the system, Therefore, you need to know it too, You should know how to run the Day Sheet, deposit slips, adjustment reports, etc.
  3. Do not have one employee handling all the office finances – It is important to delegate the financial duties to more than one employee. The dentist should always take the deposit to the bank after he has double-checked the deposit to ensure it is accurate.  This step is vital in protecting your office against embezzlement.  It has been my experience that office’s that have been victims of embezzlement usually only had one person handling the practices finances and it was somebody that had been with the company for a long time and who they trusted completely.
  4. Monthly review – Have an experienced outside company perform a monthly review of your finances. This allows for someone not affiliated with your practice to review all the numbers and catch fraudulent behavior. Having a company review your monthly financial data is another way to protect your company and its healthy future.

For additional information, read the Fraud Prevention Starts at the Top article in the Dentrix Magazine online archive.