Dental Office Embezzlement of $100,000 in Dental Insurance Payments

Dental Office Embezzlement of $100,000 in Dental Insurance PaymentsDental office embezzlement is still alive and well in California.

Deborah Lynn Kessler, 45, pleaded guilty to four counts of grand theft over charges that she embezzled more than $100,000 in dental insurance payments at the dental practice where where was manager.

The Orange County Register reports that Kessler signed dental insurance payments over to her personal bank accounts over the course of about three years. Investigators initially said she may have used the money to pay for an RV, boats and trips, and to cover her personal bills.

She was sentenced to two years in jail, plus an additional two more years of community supervision.

According to a 2010 Association of Certified Fraud Examiners report almost one-fourth of all embezzlement cases report losses of at least $1 million with smaller businesses being the most susceptible to fraud.

The average embezzlement scheme lasts for 18 months before detection.

The U.S Chamber of Commerce estimates that employee embezzlement costs American companies $20 billion to $40 billion a year. A long-term employee is 15 times more likely than a stranger to steal from a company.

Some of the best ways to prevent dental office embezzlement is by implementing a segregation of duties, keeping petty cash to a minimum and requiring dual signatures on checks.

Has your dental practice ever been the victim of employee embezzlement? What happened, and how did you handle it?

For more on the Orange County Register story see: Dental worker guilty of stealing more than $100,000

Dental Practice Management & Dental Insurance (Video)

Dental practice management and dental insuranceDental insurance is such a mixed bag. It can make patients more likely to seek treatment. dental insurance can bring new patients into a practice, and it’s the core of many dental practices.

Unfortunately, it can also lead not just to headaches, but also to lost income. Dentists know the fault lies not with the patients, but with the dental plans and insurance companies.

“Taking dental insurance allowances is a recipe for financial failure. Just look at the numbers,” said a Pennsylvania dentist.

This survey by The Wealthy Dentist asked doctors what percentage of their dental patients use dental insurance.

Jim Du Molin and Julie Frey discuss the dental practice management issues surrounding accepting dental insurance:

Of dentists responding to this survey, two out of five said that at least 70% of their patients have dental coverage.

“We will file for all our patients but are not in network with any insurance companies. I see about 50% of patients with insurance,” said a general dentist.

“We are not a preferred provider for anyone, but we accept any insurance that allows out-of-network dentists. We do charge the patient the difference between our fees and what the insurance pays,” said a Texas dentist.

What percentage of your patients still carry dental insurance?

Dental Insurance: Good Source of New Patients? (Video)

Dental insurance and new patientsDental insurance is sometimes the bane of a dentist’s existence.

Except that dental plans can also be a significant source of new patients.

“Insurance brings in new patients, but at a cost,” said a Kentucky dentist. “The fee schedules are terrible. I currently consider the write-off as a marketing expense.”

“When we became a provider, we were able to keep some patients who might have gone elsewhere,” said a Texas dentist.

Jim Du Molin and Julie Frey chat about results from a survey asking dentists if dental insurance brings new patients into their practice:

If it doesn’t get them new patients,  why a dentist would be a part of a dental plan network?

It’s a bold choice when dentists refuse to accept offensively low payouts from insurance companies — but one that can increase a doctor’s profitability and peace of mind.

And 13% of dentists responding to this survey said that they don’t accept dental insurance in any form.

So, of those who do accept insurance, how many find it an effective dental marketing tool?

Four out of five report that insurance brings in new patients to their dental practice, while only one in five says it doesn’t.

If you’re in the “one in five” category, you really might want to re-examine your relationship with dental coverage.

“Most of our patients come from word of mouth referrals by other patients,” said a Tennessee dentist. “We’re not a part of any dental insurance plans, although we do file insurance for our patients that have it. The lack of dental insurance does not seem to deter many of my patients from seeking needed dental care.”

“With so many dentists on the PPO provider lists, it proves not to be a source of new patient generation like the insurance companies promise it to be,” complained a California dentist.

Insurance lets me give the patients what I want to do without concern for payment. I give a higher level of care than they would have otherwise,” said a New York dentist.

“Why do patients who do not have insurance want it so badly, yet patients who have insurance hate it so much?” asked a Florida dentist.

It’s so true! When it comes to dental coverage, the grass always seems to be greener on the other side.

I think it comes down to that fact that patients almost always expect dental insurance to be like health insurance. They rarely realize how low the benefits tend to be.

Dental Practice Management: Is a Financial Arrangement Coordinator Necessary?

Dental Practice Management: Is a Financial Arrangement Coordinator NecessaryThe dental office financial arrangement coordinator is an important part of dental practice management.

The financial coordinator assists dental patients with making payment arrangements and coordinating dental insurance benefits so that dental treatments are compatible with the patient’s budget, thus you, the dentist, get paid in a timely manner.

When asked about having a financial arrangement coordinator for his dental office, one California dentist complained, “I wish everyone would just pay at the time of service!”

In our most recent survey, The Wealthy Dentist asked dentists if they employ a team member as a financial arrangements coordinator, and dentists were pretty split on their responses. 55% responded that they do not employ a team member as a financial arrangement coordinator, and 45% responded that they do employ a team member to carry out this important dental practice function.

Dentists’ feelings on the subject are mixed; some feel this type of position is better suited for larger dental practices, while others insist it’s absolutely necessary to have someone handle financial arrangements.

Here are just a few of the comments from the responding dentists:

“I have 1 designated team member to make financial arrangements, but occasionally another member has to step in due to the primary being out of the office for various reasons.” (Nevada dentist)

“We estimate dental insurance benefits, and receive the patient’s portion on the date services are provided. Other than that, the only other financial arrangement offered is through Care Credit. Our receptionist comfortably handles this as part of her duties.” (Illinois dentist)

“This is probably a great idea for larger multi-dentist offices, but I find it is not likely to be cost effective in a smaller practice.” (General dentist)

“We have only one person and no one else discusses money. That way it stays simple and patients can’t say someone told them something different. For the most part we have a set of rules to follow, but there is always that special situation where we break the norm.” (General dentist)

“Complete necessity to have someone ultimately responsible and the ‘go to’ person for all financial arrangements, especially patient interaction.” (Michigan dentist)

“An absolute necessity to have one person handling this!” (California dentist)

“This position is vital to keeping cash-flow running smoothly.” (General dentist)

“I make all the necessary financial arrangements directly with my patients, but I am an old-fashioned dentist in a small town, and I want to know what is going on (financially) with my patients.” (Kansas dentist)

How do you handle this dental practice management position in your dental practice? Is one person designated as your financial arrangements coordinator?

Dentist Thinks All Dentists Should Drop Dental Insurance (video)

Dentist Thinks All Dentists Should Drop Dental Insurance (video)Dental insurance is a great way to bring in new dental patients, but it is also a great way to reduce a dental practice’s bottom line and give dentists less control over their dental practice.

Explained one endodontist, “If I dropped dental insurance I’d be cutting ties to 85% of my patient base!”

Another doctor suggested, “If all dentists dropped all insurances, then all dentists could collect fees in full from everyone!”

The Wealthy Dentist conducted a survey asking dentists if they have dropped dental insurance.  Many dentists responded that they are sick and tired of dental insurance companies dictating fees and treatments, leaving a number of them wanting to drop their dental health plans.

To hear more of what dentists had to say about dropping dental insurance, Click Play —

What are your thoughts on dental insurance?

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