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Protect Yourself from Dental Embezzlement

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Embezzlement is a serious problem that continues to grow in the dental industry. Depending on the surveys that have been done by multiple sources, the average amount ranges from $20K -$900K. Highs into the millions have been reported. Here are some examples of how it can happen and suggestions to prevent a loss.

How it can Happen:

  1. Payroll checks – hours not worked, vacation & sick days, salary increase, and/or “ghost” employee.
  2. Adjustments – with payments received and/or expense items.
  3. Expense reimbursement – Non-legitimate expenses
  4. Patient Payments – adjusted or not entered, and checks being cashed.
  5. Practice “Dummy” Account – part of checks to deposit going to a second unauthorized checking account. There are thousands of ways this can be done.
  6. Cash payments – reduce the charge amount in the patient’s record but charge the accurate amount.
  7. Write offs – post the charges, but keep cash.
  8. Refunds – written to “fake” or “test” patients.
  9. Computer – payments backdated and/or deleted.
  10. Vendor/Supplier Payments – pay vendor twice and then use refund.


  1. Be the Boss and owner of your practice. No one that is directly involved with you practice on a daily basis is immune to this problem. As an owner, the more involvement you have and strategic systems that are in place prohibit embezzlement.
  2. Know your practice software. Reach out to a practice consulting company to show you how to engage in specific reports to ensure proper handling of adjustments, payments and credits.
  3. Perform audits. Audits should be routinely done and can be password protected in the practice management software to ensure no tampering. Front desk team members should not be able to run these reports.
  4. Cross train employees. Make sure all front desk duties are able to be done by all of your office team.
  5. Disperse duties to more than one person. Don’t let the office manger or one specific person open the mail, make the deposits, or hold petty cash.
  6. All adjustments should be authorized daily by you the owner. A report should be reviewed by the owner daily.
  7. Make sure embezzlement is covered clearly in your employee handbook. If you do not have an employee handbook reach out to a consulting company right away.
  9. Do not have the idea or thoughts that it couldn’t happen to you. Remember over 50% of dentist are embezzled and many that were embezzled thought it would never happen to them.
  10. Surround yourself with dental professionals. If you do not have a thorough monitoring system in place, talk to a consulting company to implement a monitoring system.

Disclaimer : Materials that you will read were prepared for general information purposes and are not intended as legal, tax or accounting advice or as recommendations to engage in any specific transaction. Please consult your own counsel, accountant or other advisor regarding your specific situation.

Want to Take Action?

Email our coach Nancy your concerns and let’s do something about it!
Email: [email protected]

Unprofessional Profession

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I love dentistry….if it wasn’t for the people. It can be a very unprofessional profession to say the least. 80% of the doctors I speak with are upset about PPO’s, swear at the insurance companies, are ashamed of the profession, shout their disapproval with what is happening (Like Delta announcing a reduction in reimbursement)….yet they do absolutely NOTHING to change the situation! Year after year, complaint after complaint, phone call after phone call ….doctors saying the same thing.

Dentists have told me they hate going to work. Attending conferences can hurt as I sit through the conversations about ‘being in network’. Some are still blaming the recession of 2008 and how they had to sign up for every PPO. I know it seems a lot easier to do nothing but it doesn’t make the problem go away.

In fact it’s hurting your bottom line and your physical well being. And the stress it causes within the team because they are working with a frustrated leader is evident both with the team and your patients. So why are the other 20% succeeding and doing so well? They decided ‘enough is enough’, put their money where their mouth is and they have created a strategic plan to determine when the practice can support changing to ‘fee for service’ or at least dropping a majority of PPO’s that are causing them to work twice as hard for half the money. (Picture a hamster running on a wheel) If you’re laughing now, or have decided that you couldn’t possibly drop your PPO’s, you’re probably part of the 80%. Well at least you get your cardio workout each day as you run from op to op, have no lunch and run late every day.

Want to Take Action?

Email our coach Nancy your concerns and let’s do something about it!
Email: [email protected]