Your employees can be your greatest asset or your greatest liability. Trust is essential to ensuring that your medical practice operates at peak performance. Not only are your employees essential to your ability to provide superior patient care, but they are the marketing ambassadors for your practice and the gatekeepers of incredibly private, personal and financial resources. In many ways your medical staff can make or break your medical practice’s profits.
Unfortunately, you cannot always trust every employee you hire. There will always be a testing period because trust is built over time. During that period, it is the physician-owners job to assess the level of their employee’s trustworthiness. With employees having such easy access to so much personal and financial information about your practice and your patients, it is important that you know what “red flags” to look for that indicate trouble.
In the following excerpt of an article entitled “Know signs of embezzlement before your cash vanishes” written for American Medical News.com by Karen Schecter, Schecter highlights the warning signs every physician-owner should be aware of to prevent the embezzlement of cash from their medical practice.
What does an embezzler look like?
Embezzlers come in all shapes and sizes. There is no “one” particular look to them. However, there are things that you should be aware of, including positive significant lifestyle changes such as extravagant purchases and participation in more expensive activities. Some employees will cover up by attempting to “keep you totally informed all of the time,” while others refuse to answer questions because “everything is under control and your job is to take care of the patients.” Some employees refuse to take more than one vacation day at a time because they want you to think they are indispensable.
How can I be working harder but making less money?
The initial responses from many people are that reimbursement is decreasing or your billing department is not performing at par. This may be true. However, your investigation into this situation should also include a look at the financial side of your practice. The first place to start looking is your accounts receivable and accounts payable to see if they are growing. Review your monthly expenses to see if there are any inconsistencies that cannot be explained.