Private Practice: There is a Thief Among Us

Every day hundreds of people will take to the internet and post about how they’ve been ripped off by their doctor, hospital, and insurance company. However, you don’t really read too much about the doctor’s office getting ripped off. Sadly, it’s an all too common occurrence.

Unfortunately, most medical practices have had to deal with a staff member stealing, specifically money. Front desk staff may manipulate a patient’s personal check, accept money without recording the transaction in the practice management system, or severely discount a fee and pocket the difference. Theft may even occur by charging personal items to a corporate charge account or business credit card.

Advanced Practice Claims is going to shed some light on this topic by revealing the factors that enable the theft and some solid solutions to help prevent theft in the office.

What Enables Theft in a Medical Office?

  • Practitioners are unaware of the accounting procedures in their offices.
  • A lack of staff typically leaves one person in charge of processing the money.
  • Sufficient background checks are rarely done prior to the offering of employment.
  • Security measures, such as video cameras, are not used to monitor front desk staff.

What Can Be Done To Prevent Theft?

  • Reconcile your bank statement with your practice management report each month.
  • Generate an adjustments report and verify each financial adjustment with someone other than the person who entered the adjustment.
  • Create a Collections Oversight Group with at least three staff members, including your main bookkeeper or accountant and request they meet at least once a week to review discrepancies in reports. The open-forum approach will hinder the likelihood of theft.
  • Make sure the person entering new payees into the practice management system is not the same person who manages the money. It’s easy to create phony vendors if no one is watching.
  • Make bank deposits daily so cash isn’t lying around the office. That’s just good sense.
  • Be diligent when hiring staff. Ask questions during the interview that will speak to a candidate’s character, not just work experience. Check references and conduct solid background checks.
  • With HIPAA in mind, considering installing a small camera to monitor the cash flow at the front desk.

All practitioners should take the time to investigate theft in their practice. If time doesn’t permit, and you would like an objective third-party input, Advanced Practice Claims will conduct a no-cost, no-obligation audit of your billings and collections for a month to identify theft. It’s just our way of lending a helping hand.  Contact us to get started.

Identify theft before it becomes insurance fraud, because that’s a whole new ballgame!