Medical Office Embezzlement – Are you at risk?

Yana Weaver, CPA

Do you know how much your patients really pay you for procedures? Are you getting all the money that they bring to your practice?

You would be surprised to know that according to the survey released by the Medical Group Management Association last year, nearly 83% of 688 practice managers were at some point affiliated with medical offices where employee theft occurred. Even though only 18% of such incidents involved the theft of $100,000 or more, usually taken in dribs and drabs by the most trusted employees, these high-dollar thefts accounted to 93% of the total losses. For more information about the survey click here.

Dentists, plastic surgeons, concierge physicians and other medical providers who customary accept cash from clients (vs. billing the insurance) are particularly vulnerable to employee embezzlement.

Most people who commit embezzlement do so because they need money – this much is obvious.  It is also obvious that they spend whatever they embezzle.  There is very little you can do after the fact to recover your losses. 

I just spent 3 days as a juror on a trial that involved embezzlement in the medical office.  A typical case of theft by a trusted employee who has been around years and whom the doctor treated as “family”.  The jury did find the defendant guilty, but it’s highly unlikely that the victim will ever recover financial loss.

If your medical practice involves procedures that are not covered by the insurance you are at risk of employee embezzlement.  Don’t take it lightly. Call ELLS CPAs & Business Advisors at 714.569.1000, we can help you establish good financial controls so that malfeasance will be deterred and come to light sooner rather than later if it does occur.

By Yana Weaver, CPA



Marketing Director at ELLS CPAs

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