As a medical practice owner or manager, the last thing you want to think is that your employees would steal from you. However, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce estimates that theft by employees costs American companies between 20 and 40 billion dollars a year. Their research also reported that an employee is 15x more likely to steal from an employer than a non-employee.
While many people assume the majority of shrinkage occurs in the retail and restaurant industries, a study by the Medical Group Management Association found that 83 percent of practices surveyed had at some point been the victim of embezzlement. Whether it’s downloading and sharing confidential data, manipulating expense reports, or stealing equipment- employee theft and fraud is a serious issue in the medical industry. Below we’ll discuss the most common types of fraud and what you can do to prevent them from happening in your organization.
Common Types of Employee Theft in the Healthcare Industry
- Swiping petty cash
- Stealing customer data
- Stealing medical equipment/drugs to resell
- Using company checks and/or credit cards for personal expenses or purchases
- Inaccurately recording transactions and payments—and pocketing the difference
- Creating false invoices, patients, accounts, and/or transactions
- Diverting clinic payments to private accounts
- Billing for personal medical expenses under clinic patients
- Background check and a drug test all potential hires.
Employees with drug dependencies are at a much higher risk of stealing in order to fund their habit. If someone has been convicted of theft in the past, or has a criminal record for drug usage, then you don’t want them handling your money, much less caring for patients.
- Check Candidate References.
It’s surprising how few hiring managers in the medical field actually check candidate references. They just assume that a reference will only be glowing. However, it’s important to check references—especially those of former employers and colleagues. Many companies fail to legally report employee theft out of embarrassment, but they’ll likely warn you of the behavior if you call for a reference. If your potential hire has a history of stealing, you’ll want to know about it before you make the mistake of hiring them.
- Conduct Audits Regularly.
Conducting regular audits will help you detect theft and fraud. Many culprits of workplace theft seize opportunity where controls don’t exist. Having regular checks in place will deter them from doing so because they’re more likely to get caught. Identify high-risk areas and audit for violations on a 6-12 month basis. Include business expense reports, cash and sales reconciliation, violations of email/social media, etc.
- Keep a virtual eye on employees.
Similar to auditing, employees will be much less likely to steal if they know that you are constantly watching. Use a video surveillance system to help deter employees as well as catch theft after it happens. Be sure to include cameras in storage rooms and loading areas.
- Hire security officers.
Most employee theft occurs before or after normal working hours. Security officers provide an additional layer of protection for your organization. Security guards can provide gate access control for deliveries, as well as Visitor Access Control to prevent common office threats including: employee and customer theft, office violence, intrusion, and surveillance.
If you’re looking to increase integrity, dependability, and security, consider a consultation with BOS Security, a division of BOS Staffing. BOS Security takes an intelligent approach to security services by maintaining the highest standards in the security industry. BOS Security is known to exceed client expectations by employing the best guards and using cutting edge systems. Contact BOS Security today to start reducing theft in your organization.