Dental Embezzlement News
Issue #29 -- December 2014
Did you miss a previous newsletter?  We archive them here.
See Us Live!
Here are some of the places you can hear us speak:
Dec 9
American Association of Orthodontists webinar (AAO members only)

Jan 24-25
Carestream Oral Surgery Summit, Atlanta GA
Jan 29
topsFest, Atlanta GA
Feb 12
American Academy of Dental Group Practice, Las Vegas NV
Feb 19
Ortho2 User Group Meeting, Scottsdale AZ
Mar 5
Pacific Dental Conference, Vancouver BC
Mar 6 Cloud9Ortho Users Meeting, Atlanta GA
Apr 9
New Orleans Dental Conference, New Orleans LA
Apr 14
Fox River Dental Society, Geneva, IL
May 8
American Association of Endodontists, Seattle WA
Jul 31 Arkansas Association of Orthodontists, Little Rock AR
Sept 11
Northeastern Society of Orthodontists, Providence RI
Nov 5
ADA Annual Meeting, Washington DC
Nov 10 Limestone City Study Club, Kingston ON
Nov 24 Lexington Oral Surgery Study Group, Lexington KY
To book a great speaker for your meeting or study club, please send an email here  or call us at 888-398-2327.
Prosperident's Mission
 “We eliminate uncertainty for dentists with embezzlement concerns and maximize financial and emotional recovery for victims.”

Wow -- something for (almost) free?
I can't believe that we are doing this!  The boss told me that, in celebration of our best year ever, we are going to GIVE AWAY our Embezzlement Risk Assessment Questionnaire, which we normally sell for $79.  We will charge a nominal $10 fee, which will be donated to a dental charity called the Allana Smiles Foundation, which provides necessary dental care so that patients can receive cancer treatment.
To take advantage of this offer .(which will probably never be repeated) go to our web store at, select the Embezzlement Risk Assessment Questionnaire and use Offer Code ALLANA.
This offer is available to the first 500 respondents.

  We'd like to welcome new Senior Examiner Annie Joseph to Prosperident.  Annie has both a law degree and a Master of Science in Financial Forensics and Fraud Investigation.  Annie is a welcome addition to our Special Investigations Group.
I’m being embezzled? It can’t be her, she’s my best employee!  
by David Harris MBA CMA CFE

I’ve lost track of how many dental practice embezzlements I’ve investigated over the last 25 years. My company, Prosperident, investigates hundreds each year. 
First, let’s quantify the problem. Published statistics suggest that dentists have a 60% probability of being victimized at some point during their career. Average amounts stolen exceed $100,000, and remediation costs add to the total loss.
Contrary to conventional wisdom, most embezzlers are not “serial embezzlers” who are successfully hired after stealing from others. Rather, over 85% of the embezzlement we investigate is committed by long-term employees with no criminal record or adverse work history. So while it’s important to background check potential hires, it’s far from the perfect antidote for embezzlement since the greater danger lies with existing employees with no prior problems.
Regardless of the embezzlement methodologies used, invariably there are outward behavioral manifestations that give it away.
Our entire Prosperident family would like to wish all of our readers a happy, safe (and embezzlement-free) holiday season.
Guest Column -- Jerry Jones helps solve a pressing problem for dentists
Jerry Jones is a relatively new friend of Prosperident, but his focus on marketing and ability to think outside the box interested us.  So We are pleased to welcome Jerry to our newsletter.  Here are Jerry's ideas on producing an immediate cash flow improvement, which is something many of our clients can benefit from.
Jerry's web site is here.

How to Create a   Cash-Flow Surge Within 7 Days or Less   
If you have your team implement what I am about to share, you’ll experience a cash flow surge in your practice in a matter of days.
In fact, the results have helped thousands of dentists I’ve worked with over the last 20 years get through tough cash flow crunches on more than one occasion. And, once you get the system in place, you can repeat this process once or twice a year and it can become part of a regular routine.
What I’m talking about is patient reactivation.
Inactive patients are a part of every practice – and it doesn’t matter just how great your team is at keeping patients active in your practice. In fact, here are two routine experiences every office has:
1.) Patients leave your office with a scheduled appointment and later cancel it. And this is where a lot of practices lose track of patients. Eventually, enough time lapses and even the patient forgets or willingly puts off calling back to schedule.
2.) There’s a system break-down (or lack of a system) and patients are not scheduled for a “next” appointment either by the DA checking them out, the hygienist or the front office person. In my office, Wellness Springs Dental® of Salem, the clinical staff makes the next appointment while the patient is sitting in the chair. An appointment card is filled out and provided to the pt. In hygiene, our patients fill out their own reminder postcard (oldest trick in the book, right?). You might think this is happening in your office, but have you checked recently? Have you physical proof?
In both instances above, that forgotten patient fits my definition of an inactive patient – someone lacking a next appointment. If they have no next appointment, how can you possibly call them active?
You see, dental practices offer one of the few professional, medical practices that offer the opportunity for continuity revenue. Physicians don’t have this luxury unless they’re doing injectables (Botox, etc.). In chiropractic, patients usually have a defined term of treatment that might only last weeks or at most, months. Shoot, even non-medical pros like attorneys, rarely have a business that require regular visits. CPAs are an exception. They usually hold on to their clients for a long period of time due in large part to the high pain level of disconnect.
In dentistry, we set up our patients to visit us every 3, 4 or 6 months (if you have a strong soft tissue management program, you probably have as many 3 month visitors as 6 month).
It’s a great model that promotes my favorite kind revenue: recurring revenue. Until that is, a patient falls through the cracks as in the instances above, and are without that next appointment.
Now, you might be saying at this point, “Jerry, so what? So what if I have 500 patients that are inactive and without a next appointment. Is it really worth all the trouble?”
YES. It’s absolutely worth the trouble. Here’s why:
First, it’s far easier to get treatment accepted by someone you have a relationship with, especially if they have treatment you’ve prescribed. It’s easy for your staff to use that prescribed treatment as a lever to increase “compliance” for those who’ve not been in to get treatment started (or finished), or, to get that check-up. Remember, they already, theoretically, know, like and trust you.
Second, it’s far easier to get a buyer (your patient) to buy again vs. going to the expense ($100 to $500 or more per new patient) of attracting a new patient and then take the time to develop a relationship and trust.
(Incidentally, increasing the frequency of visits/purchases of both inactive and active patients, is one of the easiest ways to increase your cash flow!)
So we’ve discussed the definition of an “inactive” patient, we’ve covered how patients fall through the proverbial cracks, so let’s take that next logical step and review the best way to reactivate these lost souls.
Step 1: Identify them. Run a report in your practice mgmt. software that tells you who does NOT have a next appointment. If you’re unsure how to do this, contact your software support. This is really critical and can save you hours of time. Otherwise, the back-up plan is to go back month-by-month and look at every patient that should have a next appointment. This is arduous, but, don’t discount it as unnecessary if you can’t get the report you want or something similar.
Step 2: Export the list to a format compatible with Excel, so you can edit, update and have easy access to phone numbers and emails.
Step 3: Create a “campaign” that your staff will follow-through with that will get these folks from inactive to active status.
After doing this for a couple decades, we’ve devised a simple formula for this reactivation campaign. It should consist of the following:
  • A personalized letter sent in a hand-addressed envelope with a “live” stamp
  • A postcard – hand-written
  • A phone call – personal, not using voice broadcast
  • An email or text message – personal, not an email broadcast
  • Final personalized letter
If you’re familiar with a “dunning” campaign, this is similar. Each contact with the inactive patient becomes more urgently presented. The first contact is casual. The postcard more urgent. The phone call, more so. The email or text or both, still more and then a final letter that explains the doctor is really concerned and at this time, you’ll leave it up to them.
My friend and Member, Dr. Chris Griffin of Ripley, MS, goes so far as to send a faux dental chart in the mail with a hand-scribbled note from him to his staff that the patient sees inside. The note conveys just how important that next appointment is and how concerned Dr. Griffin is over this patient being inactive.
All of these steps and the 100s of variations you could add, get the patient to understand just how important it is to get back to the office and get reactivated. (We also have articles written for patient newsletters that explain how to avoid becoming an “inactive” patient.)
You might also be wondering why we use direct mail, a phone call and email/text. Good question. The biggest reason: not everyone responds to the same media. So, by using different media/ways to reach them, you’ll actually reach more of them. So, skipping steps or attempting to get away with just a letter or just a phone call will inhibit your results.
The steps I mention above should be spaced no more than 7 to 10 days apart. All in, a campaign from start to finish should span no more than 60 days. Preferably, 45 days at the most.
I’ve had members tell me they’ve taken their inactive patients from as far back as five years, and had success reactivating them. (If you do this, reach out to me and I’ll explain how to avoid wasting hundreds of dollars or more, on postage and printing, by making sure you have your patients’ most recent addresses – since roughly 30% of your patient base moves annually.)
Is there some work involved? Yes. Of course. But, it’s work that has a direct, measurable, very fast payoff. What’s more, your patients will actually thank you for reaching out to them. They forget. They get busy. And, because dentistry is such a small slice of their life, often, unless pain is persistent, they’ll delay and, eventually just forget.
Do yourself a favor: get your inactive patients identified and reach out to them now.
A Note From Our CEO:
I'm thankful because ...
As this is our last newsletter for 2014, it's time to thank some of the people who have helped us in various ways. First, I'd like to thank the talented, motivated and often hilarious group of people I work with.  The commitment and sense of ownership that you have touches me in a way that words will never express.  In particular, I'd like to mention my friend and business partner Bill Hiltz, Prosperident's Chief Operating Officer.  Bill's influence on the company has been far reaching, and the credit for our development into a technologically-sophisticated investigation firm is completely his.
I'm thankful to the wonderful circle of friends we have made in the dental world.  From consultants who refer their clients to us to meeting planners who bring us to speak at their meetings, to dentists who refer a colleague, to the group of dentists and spouses who took pity on a lonely-looking guy in Washington, DC last night and invited me out for a fantastic dinner with them, to consulting icon Linda Miles (who almost always sends us a note of encouragement when she receives our newsletter) we are grateful for your acts of friendship, large and small. 
I am grateful to our clients.  The come to us hurting and wanting answers, and we appreciate the trust they bestow on us, and their patient understanding when something takes longer than it should.
And finally I'd like to thank my family, who put up with my frequent absences and heavy work schedule.  They make me look forward to coming home, every time.

Have a wonderful holiday season!

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