Theft in a Medical and Healthcare: What You Need to Know
Most medical providers get into the field for one main reason: to help others.
They are honest and hardworking in pursuit of their goal to improving their patients’ health. But they also have the responsibility of protecting their identity, medical records, and sensitive information in accordance with the law.
Theft usually occurs when three variables are involved:
- Incentive or pressure (motivation).
- Opportunity or perceived opportunity.
And despite trust being a factor, long-standing employees account for just as many occurrences as new ones.
Why Target a Medical Practice?
Theft of office supplies or other tangible assets can certainly be a problem, but the most significant activities involve more opportunity.
More often than not, theft relates to copayments, deductibles and particularly cash receipts.
Some of the more common ones include: purchases from fictitious vendors, duplicate payments and an alteration of records, or completing transactions online where a “paper trail” is lacking.
Control the Environment
The best way to confront the problem is a well-designed strategy and process for implementation. Having a plan to prevent theft before it happens goes a long way to prevent painful headaches down the road.
If there is ever a suspicion of theft (and you don’t have good controls in place), it is easier to jump to an incorrect conclusion that results in distrust and disharmony among your staff. Not to mention, your very practice could be at stake.
Remember, a well-established process benefits everyone in the company – but be sure to follow through and hold everyone accountable to the office policy.
Remove the Opportunity
When creating a system for controlling theft in a medical environment, remember:
- Each process should be designed to involve a separation of duties, and should have a designated control person.
So, one employee might be entirely responsible for the money, while another employee is the control person who will receive patient encounter forms and receipts but does not have access to the money and deposits.
Keep a locked bin for document destruction on site, and with only a limited amount of employee access on a need-to-access basis.
At EcoShredding, we offer daily, weekly, monthly and one-time purge service packages. We can help you determine the most economical schedule to securely destroy your sensitive documents.
We are also regulation compliant with:
- FACTA Disposal Rule
Even with the very best system in place, there is no way to absolutely eliminate the chance of fraud, but with the right plan, every office can help ensure their practice, employees and patients are safe!