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Dentists in North America are routinely defrauded. Our Forensics Services team is frequently approached by dentists to investigate suspicions of fraudulent behaviour in their clinics. More often than not, however, a fraud comes to light that leaves the clinic owners baffled and frightened because they did not even suspect it.
What is important for dental practitioners to realize is that not only are you defrauded more often than other small businesses; you are in fact, targeted for fraud. It seems unfair and it is. Some of the factors that makes dentists’ offices attractive targets, are as follows:
Dentists should take steps to defend themselves against these crimes, particularly in today’s economic circumstances. We often see what we call “serial defrauders”. Frequently, these are office administrative personnel who move from dental practice to dental practice, defrauding each in turn.
To gauge the effectiveness of your fraud prevention systems, think about whether you can answer ‘yes’ to each of the following 10 statements:
If you cannot answer ‘yes’ to at least 6 of the above 10 statements, you should consider integrating additional fraud risk management procedures in your practice to protect your bottom line.
Dentists need to implement stronger internal controls to prevent or detect fraud. Too many dentists do not do so. It is not because they do not see the value in it, but because the process itself is perceived as tedious or confusing or they simply want to spend their non-patient time on other matters.
To help protect dental practices from fraud, we utilize a program called (tongue in cheek) “the six-month checkup”. It is important to undertake a rigorous data analytics examination of the banking, patient management and accounting data on an alternating, revolving six-month rotation. Data analysis can be conducted efficiently and economically and can provide the clinic owner with important feedback on:
In other words, Red Flags of Fraud for a dental practice.
In an ideal situation, practice management software will track patient visits and corresponding revenues, which will reconcile to accounting transactions recorded and bank transactions. Analysis of operations, banking and accounting data can help identify red flag transactions and areas where reconciliation is expected, but doesn’t occur or is forced to occur by a “plug” accounting entry.
Peripheral benefits to proactive data analytics include the following:
As the old saying goes, “the Devil’s in the details”. Data analytics can be a successful solution to reduce the risk of fraud in dental practices, especially when the dentists do not want to remain embroiled in the details themselves.
Related Topics:Dentists; Fraud
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