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A Thief Among Us

I was speaking with a doctor recently and couldn't believe my ears. We were discussing communication techniques with staff and patients and the ability to listen and respond appropriately. He said his front desk staff had confided that one of his employees is stealing from him daily. He told me, "No way! This employee has been with me over nine months and would never do this."

How many times have we ignored the obvious?

If a staff person is telling you to "open your eyes," then I would imagine it was pretty good advice. Between treating your patients, keeping your documentation current and worrying about daily practice issues, there is very little time to do detective and/or surveillance of your staff.

Watch for inventory shortages, unrecorded transactions, and altered billing records.

When you have an employee making minimum wage and all of a sudden that person has a change in lifestyle, such as living beyond their means, heighten your awareness and level of suspicion. Remember there is a difference between stealing/saving and stealing/spending, your thief probably would demonstrate the latter.

Employees can steal for an array of reasons and many times they justify the behavior thinking they are "entitled" or "deserving."

Maybe they think they are underpaid or maybe they think their life has been harder than most, etc.

Make sure you know where you stand legally prior to any intervention with your "sticky finger employee."

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