Dr. Thomas Powers operates a single-provider family medical practice. One
medical assistant handles appointments, basic bookkeeping functions, and assists with medical records. Two additional medical assistants assist inpatient care.
Mrs. Powers, the physician’s wife, comes into the office on an irregular basis to prepare the bank deposit. The accountant for the practice has been able to
convince Dr. Powers that he needs to hire a practice manager, rather than
another medical assistant, to manage the increasing workload of the practice.
Teresa Ruiz has been hired into the position of practice manager and has arrived
for her first day of work. The medical assistant responsible for opening the mail
and posting patient payments tells Ms. Ruiz that patient records are up to date on
payments received and charges for services, but she has been instructed to only
place the cash and checks received into the cash drawer and that Mrs. Powers
would handle the cash from that point. In the cash drawer, Ms. Ruiz finds checks
dated over the past 2 weeks, cash far in excess of that needed for daily
operations, and dozens of IOUs where Dr. Powers has taken cash from the cash
drawer for lunches.
What are the appropriate steps for Ms. Ruiz to take to establish reasonably
financial controls over the cash handling process?
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