Do you ever find yourself fascinated and terrified by a case of dental embezzlement? I’ll admit it - I find those types of stories so gripping! I wonder what the dentist could have done to prevent the fraud or I wonder how they didn’t see it coming. If you’ve ever wondered if your dental practice is really protected from dental embezzlement or other types of fraud - this is the episode for you!
In this episode - you’ll hear from my guest, William Hiltz. William is an expert in embezzlement detection, investigation, and remediation. He is also a published author and speaker on the subject of embezzlement in healthcare. William currently serves as the CEO and Founder of Hiltz and Associates.
Set the tone from the top!
Whatever policy and controls you put in place at your dental office - they mean nothing if you don’t follow those standards yourself! Remember that old saying - money see, monkey do? It turns out that humans aren’t that different. You can’t have one policy for preventing dental embezzlement that applies to your staff and a separate one that applies to you. If you want your office to survive dental compliance checks and avoid other types of fraud - you’ve got to have your bases covered. To learn more about setting the tone from the top - make sure to listen to this episode featuring William Hiltz!
How to respond when you suspect theft from your staff
It’s that day that every dentist fears - you’ve discovered that someone in your office has been committing dental embezzlement. What do you do? Do you immediately call the police and focus on apprehending the wrongdoer? Will you press charges? Don’t leave it all up to chance or a spur of the moment decision! You need to have clear and executable policies that everyone in your office knows about. In our conversation, William Hiltz suggested this helpful course of action.
- Confirm the theft.
- Sanction the individual.
- Fire the individual responsible.
- Document what happened.
Beyond covering your practice - following William’s course of action can also help future employers avoid the same scenario with that individual. Listen to William expand on this topic and much more by tuning into this episode!
Set and forget controls you can put in place
While it’s great to have a process to deal with dental embezzlement once it occurs - an even better question is how do you prevent it from being a temptation for your staff in the first place? The easier you make it for people to steal, the more likely they are to steal! Why not put some measures in place to make it difficult to commit dental embezzlement? According to William Hiltz, there are several "Set it and forget it" steps you can take to protect your dental practice.
- Secure your point of sale system so your staff can’t do unauthorized refunds.
- Get rid of check payments as much as possible - go digital or direct deposit.
- Emphasize the severe nature of any financial misconduct.
You can’t expect policy alone to protect your practice from dental embezzlement - you’ve got to make your people feel the enormity of the situation. After all - people on the road speed every day - but they don’t speed when a police officer is behind them! You are the police officer of your office - if people feel like they can get away with theft, it’s because you haven’t monitored them close enough.
Don’t hide your head in the sand!
I know - you see all this information, and you hear William’s dire warnings, but the truth is - running a business is difficult. As much as you’d like to cover all the bases - sometimes ignorance is bliss - right? No! While you don’t have to have it all figured out tomorrow - this isn’t an issue you can sweep under the rug. If you want to protect your reputation and give your patients the best service possible - you’ve got to take steps to prevent dental embezzlement and forms of fraud. Reach out to William and his team if you’d like more information - their website is located in the resources section at the end of this post.
Outline of This Episode
- [0:28] I welcome my guest, William Hiltz.
- [4:00] What William looks for with unauthorized refunds.
- [12:20] Set the tone from the top!
- [18:15] What should you do if you suspect a staff member of stealing?
- [32:30] Why you need controls and monitors in place.
- [35:30] Set and forget controls you can use.
- [37:30] Ignorance is not a solution!
- [39:20] Closing thoughts.
Resources & People Mentioned
- Hiltz & Associates • Dentistry's Embezzlement & Data Audit Specialists
- Dental Fraud Busters - Facebook Group
- William on LinkedIn