Protect Your Dental Practice by Bonding Your Employees

by Bryan Truitt and Jim Du Molin

Even if you have an internal controls system that makes embezzlement difficult, the danger of collusion still exists. (I’ve already told you that embezzlement is common, it can be detected, and it can be prevented.) One of the ways in which some dental practices protect themselves from employee dishonesty is by bonding their employees.

Bonding is the process by which an employer can be indemnified for the loss of money or other property sustained through dishonest acts of a “bonded” employee. Bonding can cover many types of acts including larceny, theft, embezzlement, forgery, misappropriation, wrongful abstraction, willful misapplication, or other fraudulent or dishonest acts committed by an employee, alone or in collusion with others.

There are several types of fidelity bonds. Discuss each with your agent to determine whether damages from negligence are covered. Basically, your practice has several options at its disposal:

  • Individual: covers one employee. Usually purchased by small practices or family-operated businesses with only one employee.
  • Name schedule or position schedule: covers either the employees or positions specified.
  • Blanket fidelity: covers all employees.
  • Commercial, blanket, and blanket position: provides multiple protection (comprehensive dishonesty, disappearance and destruction coverage, or a blanket crime policy).

There is wide choice in features and coverage as well as cost differences in bonding coverage. It difficult to understand why only two practices in ten have this economical insurance.

Next week, we’ll talk about what to do when you have discovered a problem.

Confrontation Is Not the Way to Deal with a Thieving Employee

What to Do When You’ve Discovered an Embezzlement

by Jim Du Molin

Now, finally, what to do when you think you are being embezzled by an employee? For reasons I do not want to discuss in a public forum, it is important that you DO NOT IMMEDIATELY CONFRONT THE SUSPECT with your concerns or evidence.

Step back, take a deep breath, and call your accountant. Discuss your concerns. Set up a meeting to review what you have found. If your accountant believes there is enough smoke to proceed, do an audit. But do it privately, after hours. Do not let the suspect or ANY other employees know that you have a concern.

Your main goal is not to be accused by the suspect of defamation! This is a common tactic of embezzlers. Once you have proof of the problem, you have two choices. Your path will depend on the size of the embezzlement. In either case retain an attorney to review your options.

If the amount is under $10,000, terminate the employee without getting into ANY discussion of your proof or suspicions. If you are in an “At Will” state, you don’t have to even give a reason. Just say that you “don’t feel the two of you are on the same page” and you are letting him or her go. Again, consult your attorney.

I know that this advice will frustrate many of you reading this. Yes, you may end up paying unemployment costs, but in the long run, it is worth it. The reality is that this is the least expensive, least stressful and least time-consuming approach to the problem. I have been through this many times with many doctors who wanted to crucify the suspect and run him out of town on a rail all the way to the penitentiary. The reality of that happening is nil, and your chances of getting any money back are less than 10%.

I know it’s hard advice to hear… but it is the most valuable tip I can give you.

Dentist Accused of “Biggest Ever” NHS Dental Fraud

Dental fraud by NHS dentistA dentist in the UK has been charged with one of the largest NHS dental frauds ever committed. The dentist, now suspended, is accused of stealing £1million from the National Health Service.

The dentist submitted as many as 5,000 false invoices between 2006 and 2009.

The Birmingham cosmetic dentist also operated a medical spa and advertised her services for dental Botox and dental makeover options such as braces and veneers.

Read more: Woman dentist charged with stealing £1m in ‘biggest ever’ NHS fake invoice fraud

Dental Practice Embezzlement: Dentist Survey Video

Dental practice embezzlement dentist survey videoDental practice embezzlement can be a major dental management issue.

In a survey from The Wealthy Dentist, 52% of dentists who responded reported having been embezzled, while 48% say they have not been a victim of fraud.

“It happens to 95% of dental offices,” said an orthodontist. “The other 5% are ignorant, or have a spouse working the front desk.”

Jim Du Molin and Julie Frey discuss the problem of dental practice embezzlement:

“I was embezzled to the tune of over $1,000,000!” said a periodontist.

“You need to have several checks and balances to help prevent embezzlement, plus do random audits to let staff know you keep on top of checking records and books,” advised a pediatric dentist.

Has your dental office ever been embezzled? Any further thoughts on dental practice embezzlement and fraud?

Dentists in New York Skim $3M from Medicaid?

New York state auditors have discovered some questionable billing practices among dentists. Officials say that the state may have paid $3 million in Medicaid claims for fraudulent dental procedures.

It’s not always easy to spot Medicaid fraud, but some dentists get too greedy to overlook.

Remember the dentist who billed for 30 fillings for a single one-hour pediatric dentistry appointment? In this case, dentists filed claims for typical dental treatments.

The problem? None of the patients actually had teeth. Nonetheless, Medicaid was billed for natural tooth procedures for these denture patients.

It’s not clear how widespread this problem, but the state comptroller has released information on the audits of 5 dentists. Over five years, these 5 dentists filed over $46,000 in improper Medicaid claims.

Read more about it


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