Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Setting Initial Balances for Patients

The wonderful thing about the Dentrix Ledger is that patient balances are automatically updated every time you enter procedures, whether it be from the Ledger itself or by completing procedures in the Patient Chart.

However, if you are converting your accounts to Dentrix from another practice management program, you may need to transfer any existing account balances manually. This may be something you'll need to do very rarely, but it's good to know how to do it correctly.

Keep the following in mind regarding initial balances:

  • You can enter an initial balance for a family only if the family has no transactions (including completed, treatment-planned, or existing procedures or conditions). We suggest adding the new patient/family into Dentrix, and before you do anything else, enter the initial balance using the steps outlined below.
  • You can only enter an initial balance if the month in which a new patient was created has not been closed. Again, create the new patient/family file and then immediately enter their initial balance.
  • Initial balances always appear under the name of the guarantor (head of household).
  • Initial balances print as part of the Balance Forward on statements, and also appear in the Ledger, Practice Analysis, Day Sheet, Analysis Summary, and Provider A/R Totals reports.
To set initial balances manually:
  1. Create a new family in the Family File.
  2. Double-click the Balance and Payment block to open the Billing/Payment Agreement Information dialog box.

  3. In the Aged Balance table, specify initial balances for each of the past-due periods (0-->30,
    31-->60, etc.) and the last payment information.
    Note: Entering a amount under last payment amount or date does not change the patient or account balance. Instead, entering an amount updates the billing/payment summary information in the Ledger. The Last Payment Amount and Last Payment Date fields are for reference only, not actual payments in the Ledger. 
  4. Click OK.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Preventing Patients from Receiving Billing Statements

There are some patients you may not want to send a billing statement to. These patients could have a special billing circumstance they have worked out with the doctor or they may be family/VIP patients that are not billed like regular patients.

You can prevent patients who fit these situations from receiving billing statements by assigning them to a "No Statements" billing type and then not including that type when you generate statements.

To prevent patients of a certain type from receiving billing statements:
  1. Select the patient in the Ledger.
  2. Click File > Billing/Payment Agreement to open the Billing/Payment Agreement Information dialog box.

  3. In the Billing Type list, select the billing type you use for patients who shouldn't receive a statement.
  4. Click OK. The patient is now assigned to the new billing type. The updated billing type appears at the bottom of the Ledger window in the gray area.

Once you have assigned the patient to a "No Statements" billing type, when creating billing statements, simply do not include that type in the range of billing types to generate. And remember that you can change a patient’s billing type at any time, so that if their situation changes, you can easily incorporate them back into a billing type that is billed regularly.

For additional information on creating a "No Statement" billing type (if you don't already have one), see the Customizing Billing Types or Setting Billing Types topics in the Dentrix Help. For additional information on generating statements, especially on selecting a range of billing types to include in your statement run, see the Generating Billing Statements topic in the Dentrix Help.

If you read this article looking for how to exclude a billing statement from an existing batch, please see our previous blog post titled, Verifying Billing Statements to Send.

If you read this article looking to avoid resending a billing statement to a patient who was sent a statement within a certain time frame, please see our previous blog post titled, Using the "If Note Billed Since" Option When Generating Billing Statements.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Save Time When Scanning Documents

There it is again--that growing stack of papers that is the scan pile...

Did you know that not only can you designate an empty folder on your computer to saved scanned documents into automatically regardless of the type of device you used to scan the document, but that you can also set certain document information to be pre-filled?  It's like putting your scanning on auto-pilot, and it just takes a few minutes to set up in the Dentrix Document Center.

Note: If you haven't already set up Auto File Acquire, a message appears when you first open the Document Center. Click Yes to set up Auto File Acquire.

To set up (or make changes to) Auto File Acquire:

  1. In the Acquire menu in the Document Center, click Auto Directory File Acquire.

  2. In the Setup Acquisition Method Defaults dialog box, make sure the Select Acquisition Method option is set to Auto File Acquire.
  3. The following settings will be used for any document(s) acquired using the Auto File Acquire method:
    • Document Type - Select the appropriate type from the drop-down list. If the majority of items you scan in your office are patient payment agreement forms, for example, set this option to Payment Agreement Documents. You can always edit the document type for individual documents later.
    • Description - Type a description of the document. This too can be edited after the fact as needed.
    • Orientation - Select an orientation from the list. This option really only applies to X-rays and other images of a patient's mouth.
    • Acquire without displaying Document Information - Check this box to prevent the Document Information dialog box from appearing. For example, if you have the Document Type set to Payment Agreement Documents, and you happen to be scanning a single EOB, you would want the Document Information dialog box to appear so you could change the document type and description for document as it's entered in Dentrix. But if you are scanning a stack of Payment Agreement Documents, it may make sense to check the box, so the Document Information dialog box doesn't appear repeatedly.
  4. Under Set Default Scanner Import Folder, click the search button.
  5. Do one of the following:
    • Select a folder on your computer where scanned documents will be stored, and click OK.
    • Click Make New Folder to create a new folder when documents will be stored, give the new folder a name, and click OK.
  6. In the Combine Images Created within [X] seconds field, select the appropriate number of seconds. When scanning multiple images (such as X-rays) at once, Dentrix will combine documents into a single image if they are scanned within the amount of time you set here. Enter a number between 1 and 30. To prevent unwanted combining of images, set your number to 1 second.
  7. Click Save and Close.
For more information, see our previous Tip Tuesday post on setting up document types.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Most Popular Tip Tuesday Posts of 2016 - Part 2

Last week we started our most popular Tip Tuesday posts of the year with #10 - #6. Today, as our final post of the year, we'll finish it up with the top 5 most viewed posts:

  • #5 - Dentrix Notes Part 2: Patient Information Notes
    "Today's tip will focus on the kinds of notes you can use to document patient information...specific to individual patients." Read more...

  • #4 - Dentrix Notes Part 4: Insurance Notes
    This week we'll focus on notes dealing with insurance coverage, claims, and carriers; why they are important; and how they can be kept in a consistent location where they can be easily accessed and read." Read more...

  • #3 - Correcting Posting Errors on Payments in History
    "Knowing how to correct posting errors in history will allow you to close each month without fear that you won't be able to go back and correct mistakes later." Read more...

  • #2 - Complete Patient Clinical Notes at Your Fingertips
    "You can open a list that displays all of the clinical notes at once, so the provider can review them the same way they would in a paper chart." Read more...

    And finally, the most viewed Tip Tuesday post of the year, from May 17th:

  • #1 - Making Your Billing Statements Easier for Patients to Understand
    "Do patients call your office with questions about their billing statements, and wonder what the charges listed as "Balance Forward" actually are? When you generate billing statements, the balance forward date defaults to one month ago. Any patient balance prior to this date gets grouped into a lump sum labeled as 'Balance Forward' on the billing statement. If you want to be able to see a more itemized list of charges on your billing statements, change your balance forward date to something different, such as three months ago." Read more...
We'll return for more great Dentrix Tip Tuesday posts on January 3rd, 2017!

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Most Popular Tip Tuesday Posts of 2016 - Part 1

Another year has come and gone. That means we've given you nearly 50 Tuesdays worth of Dentrix Tips this year. Did you read them all?

Let's recap some of the most popular tips from 2016:

  • #10 - Dentrix Notes Part 3: Financial Notes
    "Because money is a big deal to everyone involved, it's important to keep good notes about payments, additional charges, and/or adjustments that were made on a patient account, and to document terms and agreements made about an overdue balance." Read more...

  • #9 - What does OPEN mean in the Appointment Book?
    "Do you have patients with flexible schedules? Willing to come in sooner than scheduled, or maybe even be willing to be rescheduled to accommodate another patient? If so, you're in luck. Dentrix has a special place for this kind of patient, and it's called the Open List." Read more...

  • #8 - Find the Patients Attached to Each Insurance Plan in Dentrix
    "At times you may need to see a list of all patients assigned to an insurance plan in Dentrix. This information can be found by running the Insurance Carrier List." Read more...

  • #7 - Archiving Patient Records
    "Patients who have left the practice or who have passed away should be archived rather than deleted so that you still have access to their electronic record if you need it." Read more...

  • #6 - Catch Unsubmitted Claims with the Insurance Claims to Process Report
    "One important report you should be running each day is the Insurance Claims to Process Report. This report will identify all insurance claims that have been created in the Ledger but not sent to the Batch Processor, or printed, or sent electronically through eClaims." Read more...

Stay tuned for next week when we reveal the Top 5 Tips of the Year!

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Creating Reminder Postcards for Patients Due for Continuing Care

Dentrix uses a letter merge process to create form letters and cards. Your Dentrix software comes with over 30 pre-written documents that contain text and merge data fields. The text is the “form” part of the letter that is the same for each patient in every practice. In contrast, merge data fields are placeholders in the letter or card that tell Microsoft Word where to insert information that is specific to your practice and your patients. For example, in a continuing care appointment reminder card, a merge data field is used as a placeholder for the patient’s last appointment date. When the letter merge is completed, the merged letter will have replaced the placeholder with the patient’s actual, unique appointment date.

You can easily create postcard reminders for patients who are due for continuing care, but do not have an appointment scheduled.

To create continuing care reminder postcards for patient without an appointment:

  1. From the Office Manager menu bar select Letters & Custom Lists, and click the Continuing Care category button.

  2. From the Select Letter or Custom List options, select the Cont. Care Cards - No Appt letter option and click Edit to set your filters.

  3. Click the Continuing Care search button.

  4. In the Due Date group box, enter the starting and ending dates for the range in the From and To fields.

  5. In the Continuing Care Type group box, select the type(s) you want to include.
  6. In the Include group box, select the appropriate option.
  7. Click OK.
  8. Set other filters as needed and click OK.
  9. To add a notation in the Office Journal for each patient to whom a letter was sent, check Add to Journal when creating letters.

  10. Click Create Letters to generate the postcards in Microsoft Word. Microsoft Word opens and displays the text of your merged postcards based on the letter template and merge field defaults associated with it.

  11. To print the postcards, from the Microsoft Word menu bar, select File > Print.
  12. Make any changes needed to the print information, prepare your printer, and then click OK to print the postcards.
  13. To close Microsoft Word, from the menu bar select File > Close. A message box appears and asks if you want to save the changes.
  14. Click No.
You can merge other types of postcards and letters using other Dentrix templates. For additional information see the various topics found in the Dentrix Help under Office Manager > Creating Letters, Labels, and Cards.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Tips for Setting Up Non-typical Families in Dentrix

Not all families are typical. Some family situations might be called complex or even difficult. Not to worry, Dentrix has the flexibility to help you set up a wide variety of family relationships. Keep the following tips in mind as you set up families in Dentrix:

  • Any time you add an account to the system, you must designate someone in the family as the "responsible party." Dentrix refers to that person as the Head-of-Household (or Guarantor).
  • The Head-of-Household does not have to be a patient, in which case, he or she would have a status of "Non-Patient."
  • Dentrix addresses all account correspondence (billing statements, collection letters, etc.) to the Head-of-Household.
  • Dentrix addresses all patient correspondence (appointment reminders, etc.) to the individual patient.
  • You can enter different addresses for patients within the same family.
  • Insurance carriers cover family members through the insurance subscriber, but the insurance subscriber does not have to be the Head-of-Household in Dentrix.
  • The insurance subscriber must be a member of the same family as the covered patient.
  • You can create multiple records for the same person as long as you don't enter the social security number in the SS# field more than once. (See Scenario 2 below). Remember that you can enter a social security number in the Subscriber ID field for as many patients as necessary.
  • Use the "Non-Patient" status any time you need to create a record for a Head-of-Household or insurance subscriber who isn't a patient. Non-patients don't show up on reports and will only receive correspondence if they've been designated as the Head-of-Household.
  • You can use the "Other" status anytime you need to add a Head-of-Household or insurance subscriber to a family if the person isn't a member of that family (divorced parents, step-parents, etc.)

Here's a couple of family situation scenarios, and how you should set them up in Dentrix:

Scenario 1: Children live with parent X (who is the children's responsible party) but Parent Y is an insurance subscriber for the children. Parent Y is not a patient.
  1. Enter Parent X as the Head-of-Household. Enter Parent X's mailing address as his or her address record.
  2. Add Parent Y to the account as the insurance subscriber. When creating the record, leave the SS# field blank and set his or her status to Non-patient, Other. Enter Parent Y's mailing address as their address. Add the insurance coverage information.
  3. When creating the child's record, select the address to match the parent who is responsible for dealing with treatment correspondence from the dental office (in this situation, Parent X).
  4. Attach Parent Y's insurance coverage to the child.
Scenario 2: Parent X and Parent Y are both active patients. Children live with Parent X who is the responsible party for the children. Parent Y is the insurance subscriber for the children.
  1. Create Account #1. Enter Parent X as the Head-of-Household. Set his or her status to Patient. Enter the mailing address as his or her address record.
  2. Enter Parent Y as the insurance subscriber. When creating the record, leave the SS# field blank and set his or her status to Non-patient, Other. Enter their mailing address as the address record.
  3. Add the child's record to Account #1, select his or her address to match the parent who is responsible for dealing with treatment correspondence from the dental office (in this situation, Parent X). Attach parent Y's insurance coverage to the child.
  4. Create Account #2. Re-enter Parent Y. When creating the record, enter the SS# (if desired) and set his or her status to Patient.
Scenario 3: Children live with Parent X, but Parent Y holds the insurance and receives the bills for the children.
  1. Enter Parent Y as the Head-of-Household for the children's account. When creating the record, leave the SS# field blank and set his or her status to Non-patient, Other. Enter the mailing address as his or her address record. Enter the insurance information.
  2. Add the child to Parent Y's Non-patient, Other account. When creating the child's record, enter his or her address to match the parent who is responsible for dealing with treatment correspondence from the dental office (in this situation, Parent X).
  3. Attach parent Y's insurance coverage to the child.
  4. Enter Parent X as another member of the family, with a mailing address that is different from Parent Y, but that matches that of the children.
Keep in mind that with complex family situations, you can always enter explanatory information about the family dynamics in the Patient Note within the Family File.

For additional information, watch the Dentrix Does It video titled, Editing Family Relationships.