Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Track Family Financial Situations with the Guarantor Note

Guarantor notes are used to document information specific to the finances of a family account. Guarantor notes are shared for an entire family, and can be viewed from the Ledger, or by double-clicking the family balance block in the Family File.

To add a guarantor note to an account:
  1. With a patient selected in the Ledger, click the Guarantor Notes button to open the Guarantor Notes dialog box.
    Note: The color of this button changes depending on whether there are notes already entered on the account. The "G" on the button changes to blue when a note is entered for the account.


  2. Click Insert Dateline to insert the date you are making the note.
  3. In the Account Note field, enter the desired note.


  4. Click OK to save the note and return to the Ledger.
    Note: I
    f you are using passwords, you can restrict which users can create and edit guarantor notes.

The Guarantor Notes dialog box also has a place for billing statement notes. A note entered in the Billing Statement Note field only prints on that family's statement, and only until the date you specify. To learn more about billing statement notes see the Adding Billing Statement Notes topic in the Dentrix Help, or the Custom Billing Statement Notes post from this blog.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Correcting Posting Errors on Payments in History

Occasionally, you may find that you made a mistake on a payment posted in the Dentrix Ledger. You cannot delete payments in history, but you can correct the mistake and maintain accurate A/R records by entering an adjustment to offset the incorrect payment amount and then posting a corrected, backdated payment. 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.

Consider this scenario:
Jane Doe called today with a question about her billing statement. Her statement shows a balance of $270, but she says she made a $300 payment the last time she was in the office. You look at her Ledger and see that there was a $30 payment entered for her last month on the date of her visit. You check your credit card receipts and verify that she did make a $300 payment, it was just posted incorrectly. Since the payment is in history, you cannot delete it. To correct the mistake, you will need to post an adjustment to offset the incorrect payment amount and then post a corrected, backdated payment.

To correct posting errors for payments in history:
  1. In the Ledger, select the patient.
  2. Find the payment that needs to be corrected. Double-click it to open the Edit History Payment dialog box. You won't be making any changes in this dialog box, but you need to open it to take note of the Date, Amount, and Provider the payment was allocated to, which you will need to know when you enter the adjustment. Once you have noted this information, click OK to close the dialog box and return to the Ledger.
    Note: If the original payment was split when it was entered, you may need to find two or more payments when, when added together, equal the payment amount you are trying to correct.
  3. From the Ledger menu, select Transaction > Enter Adjustment. The Enter Adjustment dialog box appears.



  4. Enter the amount of the payment you are correcting in the Amount field.
  5. Select the type of adjustment being made in the Type pane. For example, if you are offsetting a payment, you will select a debit (+) adjustment to negate the amount of the payment.
    Note: If you do not already have one, you should set up a debit (+) adjustment type specifically for correcting payments in history.
  6. Select the Provider to whom the adjustment should be applied. This should be the same provider the payment was originally applied to.
  7. In the Note field, enter a note explaining why the adjustment is being made. This is a good practice to be in the habit of doing, so you have a record of why a change to the payment is being made.
  8. Click OK to enter the adjustment.
  9. Now that you have posted an adjustment to offset the amount of the payment, it is as if the payment were never made. You must next post a new payment with the correct information to complete the process. From the Ledger, click the Enter Payment button. The Enter Payment dialog box appears.


  10. In the Date field, enter the date the original payment was made. Refer to the notes of the original payment you made in step 2; backdate the new payment to the date of the original payment.
  11. Enter the correct amount of the payment in the Amount field.
  12. Enter the rest of the payment information as you normally would.
    Note: Make sure you apply this payment to the specific patient for whom you are correcting the procedure in history, and make sure you apply it to the correct individual provider. You should not split by provider or by family when posting a corrected, backdated payment. If you have two providers with incorrect payments, you should correct them individually and post two separate backdated procedures.
  13. In the Note field, enter a note explaining the situation and reason for this corrected payment.
  14. Click OK to post the corrected payment. The payment will have a ^ symbol listed in the Transaction Flags (*) column of the Ledger to indicate that it was backdated.


For additional information on how to manage Ledger transactions, consider signing up for and attending a Dentrix Accounts Receivable Management Workshop, offered in 17 cities around the country this fall. Or visit our Dentrix Workshops page for information on other workshops in your area.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Catch Unsubmitted Claims with the Insurance Claims to Process Report

It's the end of a busy day. You've been checking patients in and out, taking payments, filing insurance claims, answering phones, and scheduling appointments. At some point during the day you even had time to take a lunch break while one of the assistants covered the phones. Now it's time to run the end-of-day reports.

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. We all know that sometimes claims slip through the cracks and don't get submitted, and this report is the easiest way to catch them.

When you run this report you can specify a range of patients, providers, and insurance carriers to be included. You can also filter using the claim date, type of claim (Primary/Secondary), patient name, insurance company name, claim amount, and expiration date on the report to keep it focused on just the information you are looking for. The report includes total amounts for primary and secondary claims and a combined total, to let you know just how important it is that you don't miss submitting these insurance claims!

To generate the Insurance Claims to Process Report:
  1. From the Reports menu in the Office Manager, click Ledger > Insurance Claims to Process. The Insurance Claims to Process Report dialog box appears.



  2. Select Dental to include dental insurance carriers or Medical to include medical insurance carriers.
  3. Type the Report Date you want to print on the report. The default is the current date.
  4. Do the following:
    • Select Patient - Select the range of patients you want to include using the From and To search fields, or leave <ALL> selected in both fields to include all patients.
    • Select Primary Provider - Select the range of providers you want to include using the From and To search fields, or leave <ALL> selected in both fields to include all providers.
    • Select Insurance Carrier - Select the range of carriers you want to include using the From and To search fields, or leave <ALL> selected in both fields to include all insurance carriers.
    • Select Date - Enter the creation date range of insurance claims that you want to include on the report in the From and To fields.
  5. Click OK to generate the report and send it to the Batch Processor.
Once generated, the report provides the following key elements:


  1. Claim Date - The date on which the claim was posted to the Ledger.
  2. Status - The claim status. Because this report includes only claims that have been posted but not processed, each claim displays "Created."
  3. Amount - The claim amount.
  4. Expires - The deadline by which the insurance carrier must receive the claim.
    Note: The Expires column pulls the claim expiration date from the Claim Deadline field in the Insurance Coverage dialog box for the insurance plan. If you have not customized this deadline, the expiration date will be the same as the claim creation date. This date is coming from Dentrix and is not necessarily an indication that the insurance company will not pay on the claim.  
  5. Totals - The total value of primary and secondary claims.
For additional information on this and other Ledger Reports, see the Dentrix Help.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Where Did I Put that Patient Note?

"I know I entered a note in Dentrix that had something to do with John Doe's account, but I can't remember what it was, or where I entered it."

Sound familiar? 

Let's face it, there are a lot of different places within Dentrix where you can makes notes about a patient. One of the little-known reports you can run in Dentrix is the Patient Notes Report. This report allows you to search all Dentrix note types according to a range of providers, patients, and dates that you specify.

To generate the report:
  1. From the Reports menu in the Office Manager, click Lists > Patient Notes Report. The Patient Notes Report dialog box appears.


  2. Type the Report Date that you want to print on the report. The default is the current date.
  3. Set the report options:
    • Select Patient - Select the range of patients that you want to include in the report, or to include all patients, leave <ALL> selected in both the To and From fields. To get a report for one specific patient, enter his or her name in both fields.
    • Guarantors Only - Check this box to limit the search to guarantors only.
    • Select Provider - Select the range of providers that you want to include in the report, or to include all providers, leave <ALL> selected in both the To and From fields.
    • Select Billing Type - Select the range of billing types that you want to include in the report, or to include all billing types, leave <ALL> selected in both the To and From fields.
  4. Under Note Types, select the note(s) that you want to include in the report:
    • Patient Alert Notes - Type a date range to filter the report by
    • Family Alert NotesType a date range to filter the report by
    • Clinical Notes Type a date range to filter the report by
    • Perio Exam NotesType a date range to filter the report by
    • Appointment Notes Type a date range to filter the report by
  5. Check the appropriate box(es) for any additional notes type(s) that you want to include in the report: Patient Note, Medical Alert, Continuing Care Notes, Insurance Claim Notes, Insurance Plan Notes, Payment Plan Notes, Guarantor Note, Guarantor Statement Note, Lab Case Note.
  6. Click OK to send the report to the Batch Processor.

The many locations for note taking in Dentrix are intended to help you be efficient in recording the right information in the right area. For more information on note locations, see the Top 10 Note Spots in Dentrix blog post from Dentrix certified trainer, Dayna Johnson.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Archiving Patient Records

Dentrix allows you to delete patient and family records, which results in all information associated with the patient (including alerts, notes, prescriptions, etc.) being deleted. This information can only be recovered from a backup of your database. As a result, it is recommended that you only use the delete function when correcting a mistake. 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.

When patients have passed away, moved, or will no longer be seen at the practice, you can change the patient status to "Archived." Archiving patients simplifies your database and makes selecting patients faster and easier. 

Keep in mind that you cannot archive:
  • Patients with future due payment plans or outstanding insurance claims.
  • Patients who are subscribers to an insurance plan for other family members.
  • Guarantors, until you have archived all other family members.
  • Guarantors that have a payment agreement or a balance.
To archive a patient:
  1. From the Family File, select the patient.
  2. Double-click on the Patient Information block. The Patient Information dialog box appears.


  3. From the Status drop-down list, select Archived.
  4. Click OK to save your changes. Several messages appear asking you to confirm that you want to archive the patient or to tell you that you need to complete additional steps before you can archive the patient.
  5. Click Yes to confirm archiving the patient.
When you archive a patient, the following occurs:
  • A note appears in the Office Journal for any future appointments that the archived patient had, with the date, time, provider, and reason the appointment was deleted from the Appointment Book. Past appointments still appear in the Appointment Book, with an {A} next to the patient's name.
  • Dentrix deletes all continuing care, employer, insurance, and referral information and adds it to the Patient Note. You can view this information after you archive the patient.
  • All address, procedures, insurance claims, payments, adjustments, medical alerts, prescriptions, patient questionnaires, and periodontal exams remain intact.
  • Dentrix will not allow you to edit a patient's information as long as the patient is archived.
  • Archived patients do not appear in the Select Patient dialog box unless you select the Include Archived Patients option.
  • When archived patients appear on a report or in a module, <Archived> or <A> appears in front of their names.
For information on Reactivating Archived Patients or Deleting Patient Records, see the Dentrix Help.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Protect Your Clinical Notes from Tampering

Keeping accurate dental records is one of the most important tasks providers are faced with. According to the ADA, "The dental team should be very meticulous and thorough in the dental office record keeping tasks. All information in the dental record should be clearly written, and the person responsible for entering new information should sign and date the entry. The information should not be ambiguous or contain many abbreviations. In practices with more than one dental practitioner, the identity of the practitioner rendering the treatment should be clearly noted in the record."

In Dentrix, providers can use the clinical notes in the Patient Chart to keep thorough, clear dental records that are signed and dated. Signing a clinical note moves it into history, meaning it can no longer be edited or deleted. However, if changes need to be made, you can post an addendum to the note.

To sign a clinical note:
  1. In the Patient Chart, select a patient.
  2. In the Clinical Notes panel, click the date of the clinical note you want to sign from the left column. The clinical note for that date appears in the middle column.
  3. Click the Sign Clinical Note button. The Sign Clinical Note dialog box appears.



  4. In the Name field, click the Search button to select the provider who is signing the note.
  5. Use the mouse or a signature pad to sign the note.
  6. Click OK. The clinical note will now have a gray background indicating that it is in history and locked from editing. The Sign Clinical Note button will now have a red ink trail behind it indicating that this note has been signed.

There may be occasions when you realize there's been a mistake in a clinical note or that the information in the note is incomplete, and you need to correct the information. If the clinical note has been signed, however, you cannot update the information in the note. In this situation you must add an addendum to the note and describe the change in a new note which will be attached to the original note.

To add an addendum to a clinical note in history:
  1. In the Patient Chart, select a patient.
  2. In the Clinical Notes panel, select the note to which you want to add an addendum.
  3. Click the New Addendum button. The New Addendum dialog box appears.








  4. Select the desired provider for the addendum by expanding the provider drop-down list.
  5. Enter the text of the desired note in the field provided, and click OK.
  6. Click Yes to the confirmation message to add the addendum to the note and return to the Clinical Notes panel.
    Note: Once you click Yes to append the clinical note in history, the addendum portion you've just written is automatically moved into history as well, and cannot be edited or deleted.
For additional information on clinical notes, see these past #DentrixTipTuesday posts:

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Pass Along that Extra Collection Cost: Assessing Finance Charges and Late Charges

Did you know Dentrix allows you to charge additional fees to patients with whom you have made payment agreements or to whom you have extended credit? These fees are divided into two groups: finance charges and late charges.

A finance charge is a fee that represents the cost of credit, or the cost of borrowing, and is similar to the interest charge you might receive on a home or car loan. Finance charges are typically used for patients with payment agreements.

A late charge is a fee used for accounts that are late in making payments towards an existing balance.

As part of your month end procedures you can apply finance and late charges to all applicable accounts at once. Dentrix only applies late charges to accounts with payment agreements, while finance charges can be applied regardless of whether an account has a payment agreement. See the Dentrix Help for information on how to apply late charges and finance charges monthly.

In addition to applying finance charges at month end, you can also apply finance and late charges for individual patients manually.

To manually post finance or late charges:
  1. With a patient selected in the Ledger, from the Transaction menu, click Enter Finance Charge or Late Charge. The Enter Finance Charge or Late Charge dialog box appears.


  2. Do the following:
    • Date - Enter the charge date in the Date field. The date defaults to the current date.
    • Type - Select Finance Charge or Late Charge.
    • Amount - Enter the amount to charge to the account.
    • Provider - Click the provider search button and select the patient's provider (by default, Dentrix selects the patient's primary provider).
  3. To provide clarification for the charge, type an explanation in the Note field. Click the spell check button to check the spelling of the note text.
  4. Click OK to save any changes and apply the finance or late charge.
The finance or late charge will appear in patient's Ledger and on their next billing statement, and their account balance will include this new charge.

For information on clearing finance charges or clearing late charges, see the Dentrix Help.