Follow the Money: Avoiding Embezzlement in Medical Offices

In recent months, Nebraska has been home to several medical embezzlement cases. One of these cases involved more than $500,000 stolen from a Lincoln practice. It’s clear that embezzlement can pose a threat to any medical practice. But, there are a few steps that any practice can take to reduce this risk.

One key step is to insure that cash controls are tight enough to avoid day-to-day embezzlement. This includes separating petty cash from change funds, locking up money at the front desk, and balancing money received with totals and posted payments. Build in doublechecks to everything involving money and rotate job duties to reduce the risk of collusion.

Other measures are critical to preventing and detecting embezzlement. Ensure that you conduct background checks on all employees who will handle money. You should also periodically audit patients who are listed as “no-shows” for appointments. In many cases, front desk staff has marked a patient as a “no-show” and simply pocketed the cash. Finally, you should look out for employees making extravagant purchases.

© 2013 Parsonage Vandenack Williams LLC

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