Dental Embezzlement News
Issue #17 -- November 2013
Did you miss a previous newsletter?  We archive them here.
The Embezzlement Dudes Get Together!
No, This isn't a convention of bald guys.  It's Prosperident CEO David Harris with Dr. Don Lewis. 

In addition to maintaining a full-time oral surgery practice, Don is an active speaker on the topic of embezzlement and also the CEO of the company that developed some very interesting software called Practice SafeGuard.  

Practice SafeGuard is designed to work in the background and monitor transactions taking place in a dentist's practice management software, and to directly alert the dentist when it finds suspicious activity.  

You can learn more about Practice SafeGuard at
Upcoming Presentations
Here are some of the places you can hear us speak soon:
American Association of Orthodontists Webinar Dec 4 and 10 2013 (AAO members only)
Arizona Orthodontists' Study Club Jan 13 2014
TopsOrtho Software Topsfest, Tucson, AZ Feb 1 2014
Thomas P. Hinman Dental Meeting, Atlanta GA Mar 27 2014
Star Of The North Meeting, St. Paul, MN Apr 24 2014
Western Regional Dental Convention, Phoenix AZ Apr 3-5 2014
Denver Profitable Dentists Study Club, Denver, CO May 8 2014
Pacific Coast Society of Orthodontists, Anaheim, CA Oct 5 2014
Southern Association of Orthodontists, Nassau, Bahamas Oct 11 2014
Wendy Askins, MBA, one of Prosperident's most experienced investigators
To book a fantastic speaker for your meeting, please call us at 888-398-2327 or send email to
Our most requested presentation is called "How To Steal From A Dentist"
Read about us...
Are you working harder but earning less?  See this
Combatting Embezzlement -- What Works and What Doesn't Oral Health Office
Embezzlement -- it can happen in your practice

Learn more about Kristin at
  Guest Column -- Kristin Pelletier
As you know, in the course of our work we are blessed to encounter some truly amazing consultants, and we like to use this portion of our newsletter to showcase some of them. 
This week's guest is someone we feel is an emerging star in the dental consulting world.
Kristin Pelletier is a dental practice management consultant whose comprehensive services bring success and transformation to clients with her results-driven consulting style.
We have known Kristin for several years and she continues to impress us with her knowledge and logical approach. 
Overcoming the Insurance-Driven Patient
Many dental practices tell me their number one obstacle to case acceptance is that their patients are insurance-driven. What exactly does this mean? When you’re presenting treatment to a patient, how often does the question “Will my insurance cover this?” come up in the conversation? And, when it does, are you prepared with an effective response, or do you simply take the patient to the insurance coordinator to get the answer?
While many practices think this focus on insurance is initiated by their patients, I believe most patients actually learn this behavior from the dental team. Patients absorb this message in your office every day by offhand questions such as: “How often does their insurance company allow full mouth x-rays?” Or, “Will their insurance company allow sealants?” Or, in the case of a restorative procedure, do you recommend that the patient spread the treatment over multiple benefit years to get the maximum coverage by insurance?
When patients hear us asking these questions, they think that treatment decisions are the responsibility of their insurance company. Instead, we should be communicating that our primary concern is our patients’ optimal oral health. I recommend that you have a team meeting and talk about what types of services your practice makes treatment recommendations based on insurance coverage. Then, consider these same services in terms of their impact on your patients’ oral health without regard for how much insurance will cover. What changes do you need to make in the language you’re using in your practice so your focus is on patient health not insurance payments?
Don’t just make these changes with bigger procedures. Make sure to incorporate this language in everything you do. Your patients will start to pick up on the message for the little things – the preventive and the diagnostic procedures – that this practice focuses on what we need and not what insurance allows. Then when something bigger comes up - like restorative procedures with a waiting period or a frequency limitation - your patients have already been sent a very clear message that your practice makes treatment recommendations based on what you need not what insurance allows.
When objections do come up, reply with a health-centered answer. Take them back to the consequences of leaving the condition untreated. One of my favorite responses is: “Insurance is designed to help you maintain a healthy mouth. If you need a restorative procedure or you need to go from disease to health, insurance only provides a minimal cushion to help. But, once your mouth is healthy, your insurance will help you keep it that way.” When the dentist can be the one to say this, it is so POWERFUL!
When you change this behavior in your practice, you’re on the way to training your patients to value what they need and not what insurance will pay for.
A Note From Our CEO:
The Cost of Inaction
Two years ago, I set a goal for Prosperident of increasing the knowledge level of dentists and those who advise dentists about embezzlement.
Overall I think we have done a good job of increasing awareness.  Prosperident's other speakers and I have given literally hundreds of presentations and have logged thousands of travel miles.  Our articles have appeared in every major dental publication in North America.  Google search the word "Prosperident" and you will see the extent of the information that we have put in front of the dental community.  
And yet, every once in a while, something happens that causes me to question our effectiveness at getting the word out.  Last week I had two encounters with dentists that caused me to question our effectiveness at getting the word out.
First, I got a call from a dentist.  As this dentist described his situation, it became clear that embezzlement was very likely happening given the suspect's behavior.  We were retained and began our intake process.  The dentist contacted us two days later to say that he was discontinuing the investigation, and the reason was that there was a labor shortage in the area of the practice.  In other words, that it was better to keep an employee who was stealing from the dentist than trying to find another one.  I couldn't believe my ears.
A few days later, I got a call from another dentist.  One of this dentist's staff had taken the scrap gold in the office, sold it, and kept the proceeds.  The question that this dentist was calling to ask me was whether the employee should be fired.  While the amount involved was fairly small, the answer to this question seemed so obvious to me that I'm still having trouble believing that it had to be asked.
What concerned me about both of these incidents is the apparent willingness of the dentists involved to tolerate some level of dishonesty on the part of an employee.
Let me make this simple -- there should be ZERO tolerance for dishonesty from your staff.  Someone who will sell a few hundred dollars of your gold is obviously over the ethical hurdle that employees must cross before they steal, so it is only a matter of time before this evolves into a more direct (and monetarily significant) form of stealing. And the dentist who suddenly decided that a local labor shortage existed had obviously bought into the idea than the suspect is completely indispensable to the practice.
The costs of inaction can included severe financial damage.  It also consigns the dentists to "long-term uncertainty" -- wondering what these employees are up to will continue for as long as they continue to work in these practices.
I hope that if you have suspicions or concerns, or if you have found embezzlement, that you respond quickly and appropriately.  Please feel free to email or call me if you want to discuss your situation. 

Yours truly,

David Harris, CFE
Chief Executive Officer
Prosperident -- The world's largest dental investigation embezzlement firm