“I have noticed an increase in the number of cases involving theft of patient and insurance refunds over the last few years.”
Here are are a few suggestions to help when processing refunds to patients or insurance companies.
Credit Card Refunds
Set up your merchant terminal so employees cannot issue a refund to a credit or debit card without proper authorization. (i.e.: employees will need to ask you to use your authorization PIN code or card to before they can process a refund)
Instructions are in your user guide, and you can always ask the company that processes your credit card payments for assistance.
Check your merchant service statements each month to look for any unknown refunds . They are easy to spot . If things do not add up, examine further to find out why.
When refunding a patient (or insurance company) by check; if you can, prepare and mail the check yourself.
DO NOT prepare a refund check and give it to an employee to put in the mail. You should never give a check to an employee, other than their own paycheck. Prepare and mail every check yourself – or have an external bookkeeper do it for you.
When you prepare a patient refund check, look in the practice management software to confirm the patient’s correct address before mailing the check.
Whenever you are asked to issue a refund, make sure it is legitimate. Examine the patient’s account, insurance EOBs, day-end merchant records and other documents you need to support that the refund is bona-fide.
It may be a good idea to make a “refund form” that your employees must complete and submit whenever a refund is requested. Keep a paper trail.
If you suspect that an employee has taken a check that you issued for a refund in the past; go online to your bank and obtain an image of the cancelled checks.
Examine the backside of the cancelled check to see if the depositor information matches the payee information. What you are looking for are markings on the back side of the check that suggest it was deposited into the “wrong account”
Often, a misappropriated check will end up being deposited into the same bank account that the employee deposits their payroll.