The Buck Stops Here: Protecting Your Practice

Let’s face it … dental practices are busy places focused on patient care. Running the business and having systems can often take a back seat to providing care to your valued patients.

Current dental practice statistics are showing a rise in dental practice embezzlement. Dentists are easy targets due to the high volume of small transactions, cash handling, little or no segregation of duties and loose record keeping. Lack of time and protocols are culprits that increase the risk of embezzlement in your practice.

Although there are a myriad of ways dental embezzlement occurs, safeguarding your practice begins with clearly documented financial presentations. Financial arrangements and the expected co-payment documented per appointment will help prevent an opportunity.

Additionally, placing adjustments into specific categories creates accountability as every adjusted transaction has its own group. This relates to every possible adjustment type including insurance company (specific) participation, professional courtesies (per doctor), employee discounts, senior discounts, etc. We have seen many practices use a “miscellaneous” adjustment type and often documentation is lacking. It becomes too cumbersome to investigate when not properly categorized. Reviewing your daily software report will reveal the patient’s name and the type of adjustment so you are informed and can ask questions as needed. To further safeguard your practice, insurance vouchers should be filed by date of transaction so a sample date can be reviewed and compared to the day-end report.

Setting passwords and proper security levels for your team in your software is an important aspect that is often overlooked. Team members should not be able to create adjustment types or delete services without the doctor’s involvement. Your team may feel this is an inconvenience, but access equals opportunity. If you are constantly interrupted for this, a training issue may be occurring. So stay the course and focus on why that problem persists.

Understanding your practice management software, running key reports and keeping a keen eye on your adjustments will help protect your practice. Typically, a dentist’s day-end audit only takes a few minutes when your protocols are organized and you know what to look for. For further information, please feel free to use Smarter Practice Solutions as a resource. We are passionate about helping dentists maintain the exceptional, flourishing dental practices they envision. We can be contacted at 888.765.0990 or through our website at

2 thoughts on “The Buck Stops Here: Protecting Your Practice

  1. As stated in the blog, there are easy steps to take to protect the office from embezzlement and every office should implement them to protect the doctor and the staff! Another tip would be that if it is too difficult to restrict certain employees from being able to delete transactions, most software programs should have a deleted transaction report that should be run and reviewed periodically.

  2. Great advice Sara. We live in difficult times and I have seen even long-term trusted employees, the least expected be driven to embezzlement. I also recommend that a different employee or better yet, the doctor make up the actual deposit and review the day sheet and deposit slip print out from the computer.

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