Private Investigations and Personal Security/Background Check

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Question
Hi Mark,

I will be be starting an acupuncture practice sometime this Summer. Is there an economical way to run a background check on a patient after calling for their first appointment? Maybe it would inform me if a person has ever embezzled, stolen, misappropriated money, shoplifted, had or has bad credit, or has filed frivolous lawsuits. Would this be a wise idea, would it be feasible, and could it be done quick enough to cancel their first appointment?

Thank you for any counsel.

Mike Eidson, LAc.

Answer
Well there are services that do that for employers to screen potential employees, but YIKES! That would get expensive. And the frivolous lawsuits, well, I'm not sure that would show up anyway as it takes alot to get that charge dropped on you.

Having said that, I'm also not sure that it would be appropriate to run background checks on your patients.

Now if you're concerned about people passing a bad check there are check guarantee services that for a fee on every check will guarantee that transaction, but I'm not sure that starting out you'd want to pay for that expense.

If you take credit cards, swipe them right then and there through the machine. They will be approved or denied on the spot.

Unfortunately, I don't know any insurance company that would cover an accupuncture practice for malpractice... much less if you could find one that did, if it would be affordable.

The issues you seem concerned about aren't really dangerous or life threatening, they are instead more along the lines of problems of dealing with shady customers and con artists. Which is a pretty common problem of any business.

My best advice to you would be to just make sure that you run your business in a straight up and honest manner and keep your books and paperwork up to date and complete.

Have an attorney lined up before hand, in fact, it doesn't hurt to have one one retainer. This allows you to do a little bit of research and find a good one. Talk to him about what you need to do to indemify yourself the best you can against suit. If you get really paranoid about it, record the sessions so if someone accuses you of something you got either video/cassette tape to disprove their claims.

Past that, well, ya pays yer nickel and ya takes your chances.

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