Prosperident Pulse #107 June 2021

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June 2021

Webinars
Did you know that Prosperident puts on a free webinar every month?
The theme for our Spring webinars is How to Outsmart Embezzlers.
Our next webinar takes place on June 24 at 8:00 pm Eastern / 5:00 Pacific, titled Slam the Door Shut on Embezzlers.
Free registration is available HERE, and PACE CE is offered.
We’d love to speak at your event!
We are excited to be back to live speaking.
We have great titles like “How to Outsmart the Thief in Your Practice.”
If you would like to book a speaker for your event, please give us a call or use THIS LINK.
Here are some of the places you can see us soon:
May 27
Canadian Association of Orthodontists
Webinar
Jun 11 Atlantic Virtual Dental Conference Halifax NS
Sep 9 Smile Source Exchange Las Vegas NV
Sep 16 Seattle Study Club Austin TX
Sep 25 Canadian Association of Dental Consultants Toronto ON
Oct 19 Compre-hensive Care Club Port Huron MI
2022

Feb 26 Chicago Midwinter Meeting Chicago IL
Mar 8 Dr. Graham Jones Study Club Monroe WA
May 6 Ontario Dental Association Toronto ON
Did you miss a previous newsletter? We archive them HERE.
All of us at Prosperident (including our CEO who is a veteran) wish everyone a happy Memorial Day weekend, and we thank all veterans for their service.

Why Virtual Credit Cards are a Bad Idea
Some insurance companies make payments to practices by creating a virtual credit card with a credit balance and then providing the card number. The practice can then enter the credit card number into their merchant terminal and receive payment.
Many dentists have reported that this arrangement was put in place without their consent and that opting out was not presented to them as an option. Insurance companies favor this arrangement because it is more efficient than issuing checks or arranging ACH payments.
There are several disadvantages to allowing an insurance company to pay you in this way.
Something to Talk About…
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I did my first dental embezzlement investigation in 1989.

Dentistry was much simpler then. The practice that I investigated worked on “pegboard” because practice management software was still years from being available. The practice did not accept credit cards – payment was by cash or check, and electronic funds transfers did not exist.

HIPAA was seven years away from becoming law, and OSHA was just beginning to turn its attention to dentistry. PPO was a term that dentists were hearing for the first time, and autoclaves were replacing boiling water for sterilization.

A lot has changed since 1989. Dentistry is safer, more comfortable, and more convenient for patients. The profession’s ability to deliver natural-looking restorations and even improve someone’s appearance has advanced beyond what most would have dreamed in 1989.

But paralleling these advances were increases in complexity in all the areas that I mentioned. And many dentists, for whom the ownership of a practice was already an unwelcome burden, have become overwhelmed with the duality of generating high-volume, high-quality clinical output while also managing a complex business entity.

From the unique perch from which I observe dentistry, I see some dentists who thrive in this stressful environment and others who become overwhelmed.

What can an overburdened dentist do to make their professional life manageable? Fortunately, there are some good options.

Our webinar series, which began over a year ago, tackles issues that many dentists find vexing, demystifies them, and provides guidance on navigating these areas. You can access all our past webinars HERE.

For those dentists with an intense dislike for being business owners, affiliating with a DSO may provide the ability to be a “pure dentist” and completely offload business responsibilities,in a financially rewarding manner.

Finally, if you want some personalized help with taming the business elements of your practice, we are happy to assist. I am happy to speak with any practice owner who wants to discuss their options for making practice ownership less onerous. If this is a discussion you are interested in, please book a time HERE.

For the past 32 years, we have been on your “team” and invested in your success. If we can help you, please feel free to reach out.


Yours truly,

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David Harris
We are Prosperident, Dentistry’s Embezzlement Experts
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Prosperident Webinar May 2021 – Master Your Practice’s Finances

Join your Prosperident hosts Amber Weber, Wendy Askins, and David Harris as they discuss the ins and outs of your practice’s finances.

If you want to check out other webinars that we have done, they are all available here – https://www.prosperident.com/prosperident-webinar-series/. Or if you prefer to receive content in podcast format, Prosperident’s The Dental Practice Owner’s Podcast is now available on Spotify, TuneIn and iHeart Radio. You can subscribe using one of the buttons below.

The Danger of Virtual Credit Cards

Some insurance companies make payments to practices by creating a virtual credit card with a credit balance and then providing the card number. The practice can then enter the credit card number into their merchant terminal and receive payment.

Many dentists have reported that this arrangement was put in place without their consent and that opting out was not presented to them as an option.[1] Insurance companies favor this arrangement because it is more efficient for them than issuing checks or arranging ACH payments.

There are several disadvantages to allowing an insurance company to pay you in this way. First, when you process the payment through your merchant terminal, it is treated like any other credit card payment, and a processing fee of a couple of percentage points gets applied. This cost can be particularly galling in a PPO arrangement where you are already receiving reduced fees. While most dentists will swallow merchant account fees to provide added convenience to patients making payments, I’m not sure that paying these fees for a huge insurance company’s convenience has the same appeal.

Second, many front desk staff struggle with how to enter this type of payment correctly into practice management software. Is it a credit card payment or an insurance payment? Unless a practice has a clear policy (and perhaps a separate payment code for these payments), it is entirely possible that different staff members in the same practice will take different approaches to recording these payments, causing a distortion in financial reporting.

And finally, there are many possibilities for a larcenous staff member to abuse this payment system.  Use of these cards is not limited to a specific merchant terminal, so it doesn’t take much imagination to conjure up abuse.

Even though individual insurance companies may not present this as an option, most states have passed laws preventing insurance companies from forcing you to accept payment via stored-value credit cards. If you are currently receiving payment in this manner, contact the insurance companies involved and opt out.


[1] See a discussion of one dentist’s experience at Dentists can opt out of credit card reimbursement from third-party payers, ADA News, October 2018, https://www.ada.org/en/publications/ada-news/2018-archive/october/dentists-can-opt-out-of-credit-card-reimbursement-from-third-party-payers

Virginia Woman Indicted for Six Counts of Embezzlement

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Jenelle Cook-Cash

WAYNESBORO — Police arrested a Greenville woman earlier this week after she was accused of ripping off a Waynesboro dental practice of nearly $40,000, according to police.

Court records indicate the victim was Dr. Angel Ray, who has an office on Chicurel Lane in Waynesboro.

The Waynesboro Police Department began investigating in October after an employee at the office alerted authorities to a possible string of thefts following a records audit, Capt. David Shaw said.

The captain said the suspect, who used to work at the office, is accused of stealing payments from patients. Shaw said the alleged thefts began in 2017 and reportedly continued into 2020.

All told, more than $38,000 was taken from the dental practice, Shaw said.

On Monday, the Waynesboro grand jury indicted Jenelle Cook-Cash, 35, of Greenville, on six felony counts of embezzlement.

Police arrested Cook-Cash on Tuesday following the indictments. She posted a $2,500 personal recognizance bond, Shaw said, and is awaiting trial in Waynesboro Circuit Court.

A trial date has not been set.

Content retrieved from https://www.newsleader.com/story/news/local/2021/05/14/suspect-embezzlement-case-indicted-augusta-county/5071616001/

Prosperident Pulse #106 May 2021

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May 2021

 
Webinars
 
Did you know that Prosperident puts on a free webinar every month?
 
The theme for our Spring webinars is How to Outsmart Embezzlers.
 
Our next webinar takes place on May 20 at 8:00 pm Eastern / 5:00 Pacific, titled Master Your Practice’s Finances.
 
Registration is available HERE, and PACE CE is offered.
 
Want a Great Speaker for Your Event?
In a non-Covid year, Prosperident speakers present 70 or more times annually.
 
Here are some of the places we are speaking soon:
 
Jun 6-7
Cleardent Virtual Event
Toronto, ON
Jun 11 Atlantic Virtual Dental Conference Halifax NS
Sep 9 Smile Source Exchange Las Vegas NV
Sep 16 Seattle Study Club Austin TX
Sep 25 Canadian Association of Dental Consultants Toronto, ON
Oct 19 Compre-hensive Care Club Port Huron MI
2022    
Feb 26 Chicago Midwinter Meeting Chicago IL
May 6 Ontario Dental Association Toronto ON
If you would like to book a Prosperident speaker for your event, please give us a call or use THIS LINK.
 
 
Did you miss a previous newsletter? We archive them HERE.
 
 
 
 
 
I’m a New Practice Owner. What Should I be Doing to Protect My Practice?
That is an excellent question.
Embezzlement protection involves a few big steps and a lot of small items. For this post, let’s address the big items.
 
They are proper hiring, financial monitoring, and creating a climate where an employee with suspicions about a co-worker will feel comfortable coming forward.

Hiring

Most dentists know far less about the people they hire than they should. When we say the words “background check” to many dentists, what they hear is…
 
Something to Talk About…
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Each generation has its defining event. For my grandparents, it was World War II. My parents’ experience was the Cold War and the assassination of President Kennedy.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Until last year, I had always thought that the events of Sept 11, 2001 would be my generation’s seminal moment. I was wrong about that.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
When COVID first became headline news over a year ago, most of us probably thought that the disruption would last for at most a couple of months and that the sudden shortage of toilet paper was the most newsworthy event. We were wrong about that too.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
With vaccines finally beginning to win the sometimes-deadly race against virus mutations, we can now take a deeper look at the virus’s impact on the world and on dentistry.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
In 2020, economic activity in the US suffered its worst decline since 1946. Unemployment, which stood at 3.5% pre-Covid, peaked at 14% and is still double what it was last February.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Dentistry has had to adapt in small and big ways to keep patients and staff safe and demonstrate that safety to sometimes fearful patients.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
And yet there are silver linings. The ADA has reported that in 2020, dentists managed to achieve 83% of 2019 revenue. Considering the enforced shutdown that most practices experienced, the overall economic decline, and various other challenges, 83% is a remarkable accomplishment.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
My friend, well-known dental consultant Kirk Behrendt, says that dentists are currently in a one-time period of opportunity. Where does this opportunity come from? It is everything from pandemic-deferred dental work to increased availability of staff to real estate opportunities created by employers downsizing due to staff working from home.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
I hope that you are looking for, and finding, the chances to improve your practice. As always, please know that you can obtain help and support from us. If you want to speak with me about your practice, you can book a time HERE.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Yours truly,
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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David Harris
We are Prosperident, Dentistry’s Embezzlement Experts
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I’m a New Practice Owner. What Should I be Doing to Protect My Practice?

That is an excellent question.

Embezzlement protection involves a few big steps and a lot of small items.  For this post, let’s address the big items.

They are proper hiring, financial monitoring, and creating a climate where an employee with suspicions about a co-worker will feel comfortable coming forward.

Hiring

Most dentists know far less about the people they hire than they should. When we say the words “background check” to many dentists, what they hear is the need to check whether someone has a criminal record.  With 70 million Americans having criminal convictions, criminal records are part, but by no means all, of what should be checked.  The most important investigative step, and often skipped, is the need to speak with former employers.  The best predictor of what kind of employee you will have is how this person performed as an employee in the past. 

There are many other good sources of information, such as doing a drug test and examining how someone conducts themselves on social media.

Here is a link to a webinar where we discuss the proper screening before hiring — https://www.prosperident.com/prosperident-power-hour-april-22-2020-forensic-hiring/

Financial Monitoring

The second component is the financial monitoring of your practice.  We see far too many “I’m a clinician only” dentists who completely abdicate their finances to staff with no oversight whatsoever.  If you leave your finances in the hands of staff without supervision, you will probably be embezzled sooner or later.

At an absolute minimum, the following should be done:

  • A daily review of transactions in your practice management software to look for errors and suspicious entries.
  • A monthly confirmation that the amount that should have been deposited in your bank account according to your practice management software actually was deposited.  The good news is that, unlike the daily review of transactions, this step can be comfortably outsourced to an external bookkeeper.
  • A monthly confirmation that the total revenue, collections, and adjustments from all of the day-end reports you have received equals the totals for the same items from a month-end summary report from your software.  This task can also be outsourced, or we have a spreadsheet that you can use to do the math for you and make this a quick and easy process.
  • A monthly review of your receivables and insurance claims that have been sent but not paid by insurance to look for unfavorable trends and other anomalies.  This activity should not be delegated.

Here is a webinar that talks about how to oversee your practice’s finances — https://www.prosperident.com/prosperident-power-hour-may-6-reconcile-or-reckless-you-choose/.

Encouraging Employees

The third component is to create a climate where, if a staff member thinks that a co-worker is up to something, that staff member feels comfortable approaching you with his or her concerns.  Staff in dental practices are far less likely to express their concerns than people in other businesses.  Having a well-thought-out policy that is communicated to employees through their employee handbook is a good way to provide comfort to staff who are wrestling with whether to approach you on their suspicions.

This monitoring doesn’t need to be an arduous process.  Five to ten minutes per day and an hour once per month are enough time to do this if some outsourcing assistance is used.

We assist many practice owners with setting up systems that allow them to be in control of their practices’ finances.  Please give us a call if you would like to discuss how we can help.

Prosperident Webinar April 2021 – How Embezzlers Think and Act Post-pandemic

Join your Prosperident hosts Amber Weber, Wendy Askins, and David Harris as they discuss emerging trends in how people steal from dental practices and offer strategies for combatting popular embezzlement pathways.

If you want to check out other webinars that we have done, they are all available here – https://www.prosperident.com/prosperident-webinar-series/. Or if you prefer to receive content in podcast format, Prosperident’s The Dental Practice Owner’s Podcast is now available on Spotify, TuneIn and iHeart Radio. You can subscribe using one of the buttons below.

KY’s Denise Dempsey Pleads Guilty

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Denise Dempsey

Referring to Prosperident’s Wendy Askins as a “living legend” is not much of a stretch. She leads all Prosperident investigators in convictions and dollar amount of embezzlement identified in her storied career, and she has mentored many of Prosperident’s capable investigators. And there has just been another notch added to Wendy’s belt.

Denise Dempsey (who sometimes goes by “Verlie Dempsey” of Harold, KY, has pled guilty to embezzling from the dental practice where she worked. She has paid some restitution, but according to court records still owes approximately $244,000.

She was initially indicted on a charge of “theft by failure to make the required disposition of property,” but pled guilty to a reduced felony charge.

As her sentence does not appear to include jail time, there is a possibility that Denise is looking for work in dentistry. We remind readers to perform a proper background check, including a criminal records check and speaking with former employers, before making a hiring decision.

While we feel bad for the victim, who is a very kind and caring dentist, we are proud of Wendy for helping the victim achieve justice.

To watch a webinar on how to properly vet staff before hiring, click on the link below.

Forensic Hiring Webinar

Canadians DO Embezzle — BC’s Kim Stephens Gets Convicted

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Kim Stephens

Kim Stephens, of British Columbia was recently convicted for “fraud over $5,000,” which is the most serious fraud offense in Canada. Kim was sentenced to 12 months of house arrest, a further year of probation, plus was ordered to pay restitution of $95,324 to a victim of her crime. Kim also has a prohibition against handling money or monetary instruments in the course of her work.

Kim has worked in several dental practices in the Vancouver area, and her employment has generally not ended in a positive way. She also worked for a time as a consultant offering services to dentists.

Prosperident’s Senior Fraud Examiner Dr. Pat Little performed the investigation leading to the conviction of Ms. Stephens.

This is a good reminder to observe our usual cautions about checking with former employers before hiring.

To watch a webinar on how to properly vet staff before hiring, click on the link below.

Forensic Hiring Webinar

Prosperident Pulse #105 – April 2021

Want to receive our newsletter automatically each month?

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April 2021

Webinars
Did you know that Prosperident puts on a free webinar every month?
The theme for our Spring webinars is Our next one takes place on March 22 at 8:00 pm Eastern / 5:00 Pacific.
This month, our topic is How Embezzlers Think and Act Post-pandemic.
Registration is available HERE, and PACE CE is offered.
Want to See Us Live?
We are so excited that live events are happening again.
Here are some of the places we are speaking soon:
Apr 16 East Texas Dental Society Bullard TX
Jun 11 Atlantic Virtual Dental Conference Halifax NS
Sep 9 Smile Source Exchange Las Vegas NV
Sep 16 Seattle Study Club Austin TX
Oct 19 Compre-hensive Care Club Port Huron MI
2022

Feb 26 Chicago Midwinter Meeting Chicago IL
May 6 Ontario Dental Association Toronto ON
If you would like to book a Prosperident speaker for your event, please give us a call or use THIS LINK.
Did you miss a previous newsletter? We archive them HERE.

Why Don’t Staff Come Forward With Embezzlement Concerns?
We have noticed an interesting phenomenon in dentistry. When you look at all types of business in aggregate, “whistleblowers” are responsible for detecting 43% of embezzlement. However, when you narrow the focus to just dentistry, the number drops dramatically to under 10%.
One possibility is that other staff members are unaware that one of their colleagues is up to something. Our (admittedly non-scientific) experience suggests that this is often not the case and that the more common reason that staff with concerns do not express those concerns is that they do not feel comfortable doing so.
Something to Talk About…
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Our webinar series celebrates its first anniversary this month. When we started the series, dentistry was reeling from the Covid-induced shutdown. Our motivation in starting the series was to give back to a profession that has been so supportive of us.

And give we did. We opened our electronic store to attendees, developed several new “toolbox” items, and gave away a boatload of copies of my embezzlement book.

In addition to our three hosts, many Prosperident team members and some great outside guests have joined us live. We have had a lot of wisdom pass through cyberspace, some very funny moments, and the occasional technical glitch of the kind that makes your hair fall out. (The proof is in my picture above!).

If you haven’t checked out our webinars, recordings are available HERE.

Lately, we’ve had people request for audio-only content so that they can listen while driving or working out. This was a great suggestion, so we launched our podcast series. Some content is taken from webinars, and some comes from other sources. It is available through iTunes, Spotify, and other podcast hosts, and on our own website HERE.

We are pleased and humbled with our growing audience and the positive reception that we have been receiving for our material.

To repeat an offer we make in our webinars, we are happy to make ourselves available to any practice owner who wants to speak with us. Thanks for being part of our community and for letting us be a part of yours.

Yours truly,

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David Harris
We are Prosperident, Dentistry’s Embezzlement Experts
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