Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Creating Reminder Postcards for Patients Due for Continuing Care

Updated 10/3/2019

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 Creating Patient Letters.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Tips for Setting Up Non-typical Families in Dentrix

Updated 10/3/2019

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, read our previous tip titled, Editing Family Relationships.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Modifying Image Documents within the Document Center

Updated 10/3/2019

The Dentrix Document Center is a wonderful tool you should be using to help eliminate paper files in your office. One of the best uses of the Document Center is to store images. Images can include not only digital X-rays, but scans of driver's licenses or insurance cards, or screen captures from oral imaging devices, or patient pictures you take with your office camera.

Within the Document Center you have a whole range of tools you can use to modify the documents once they are stored. Please note, though, that only image files (.jpg for example) can be modified. Text files, such as PDFs, cannot be modified.

A group of images within one filename is still referred to as a document, and can be assigned to multiple sources just like another document in the Document Center. Individual images within the group are referred to as "pages".

  1. With a patient selected in the Document Center, select an image document from the patient's document tree. The selected document appears in the Document Preview pane in the main Document Center screen.

  2. From the Document Center toolbar, click the Modify Document button. A row of buttons you can use to modify the document appears:

  3. To copy a document to the Windows Clipboard, with the document visible in the Document Preview pane, click the Copy to Clipboard button.
    To add another page to the document, click the Add Page button.
    To delete a page from the document, view the page in the Document Preview pane, click the Delete Page button, and click Yes to confirm.
    To alter the color, light, contrast, or saturation of a document, click the Image Adjustments button.
    To crop a document, click the Crop Image button, and expand a square over the document with your mouse. When you release the mouse, the document is cropped.
    To invert the colors of a document, click the Invert Colors button.
    To convert the document to gray scale, click the Convert to Grayscale button.
    To "clean up" the document by removing random spots, click the Remove Spots button.
    To rotate the document, click the Rotate button and select a rotation option from the list.
    To add a notation to the document as to the orientation of the mouth, click the Orientation button and select an orientation option from the list.
    To undo the last change you made to the document, click the Undo Change button.
    To undo all changes you made to a document, and return it to the last saved state, click the Undo All button.

  4. Modify the document as needed.
  5. When you attempt to click on another document or close the Document Center, you are prompted to save your changes. Click Yes to save the document.

For more information on modifying documents in the Document Center, see the Adding Pages, Adjusting Images, Cropping Images, Removing Random Spots, Rotating Images, and Orienting Images of the Mouth topics in the Dentrix Help.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Checking Up on Your Treatment Planning Success Rate

Updated 10/3/2019

It's no big secret that a dental practice's success hinges on its ability to diagnose, schedule, and complete treatment. With that in mind, it's important to be able to dig deep and discover how many of your treatment-planned procedures are actually being completed. Generating a Treatment Plan Statistics Analysis Report is a great place to start.

To generate the reports:
  1. In the Office Manager select Reports > Management > Treatment Plan Statistics Analysis.
  2. There are four different analysis reports you can generate. In the Treatment Plan Statistics Analysis Reports group box choose from the following options by checking the corresponding box(es):
    Note: You can check more than one box to generate multiple reports at once. Each report checked appears as a single line item in the Batch Processor. Also, the report option(s) you check determine whether other filtering choices are available within the dialog box.

    • Tx Planned - This report option provides an overview of treatment plans by provider, procedure, or procedure category. Additionally, you can select to include All Procedures, Only Unscheduled Procedures or Only Unscheduled Procedures for Appts Dated (entering procedure dates in the From and To fields for this option).
    • Completed Procedures - This report option displays the number and value of treatment completed during a selected date range.
    • Comparison for Completed Procedures - The report option allows you to compare the total number of treatment plans vs. the number of completed treatment plans.
    • Treatment Plan Summary - This report option provides you with an accurate picture of how much potential revenue there is in uncompleted treatment plans.
  3. Based on the report option(s) selected above, make filtering choices in the remaining group boxes.
  4. Select the report format you desire:
    • By Provider - Lists only the combined procedure information for each provider selected.
    • By Procedure - Lists all applicable procedures with information for each.
    • By Category - Lists all applicable procedure categories with the combined procedure information for all procedures within each category.
  5. If you do NOT want any procedures with a zero amount to be included in the report, check Skip Procedures with $0.00 Amounts.
  6. To save your settings for the next time you generate the report, check Save as Default.
  7. Click OK to send the report(s) to the Batch Processor.

For additional information about how to interpret these reports once they are printed, log in to the Dentrix Resource Center and under the Documents tab, look for the Reports Reference link. Within the Reports Reference PDF, view the following topics:
  • Treatment Plan Statistics Analysis: Tx Planned Report
  • Treatment Plan Statistics Analysis: Completed Procedures
  • Treatment Plan Statistics Analysis: Comparison for Completed Procedures
  • Treatment Plan Statistics Analysis: Treatment Plan Summary 

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Attaching Diagnostic Codes to Procedures in the Progress Notes

Updated 10/3/2019

The Patient Chart is a clinical record of patient care, and as such it must be completely accurate. To help maintain an accurate clinical record, Dentrix allows you to attach diagnostic codes to procedures using the Progress Notes toolbar. Diagnostic codes, however, cannot be attached to conditions, clinical notes, exams, or referrals.

To attach a diagnostic code to a procedure:
  1. From the Patient Chart's Progress Notes panel, click the procedure you want to attach a diagnostic code to.
  2. From the Progress Notes toolbar, click the Attach Dental Diagnostics to Selected Procedure button.
  3. In the Select Diagnostic Code(s) dialog box, from the Included Diagnostic Codes drop-down list, select a code category.
  4. From the list, select the appropriate diagnostic code(s), and click Add.

  5. Click OK. Dentrix attaches the diagnostic code(s) to the procedure and the letter "D" appears in the Diagnosis column of the Progress Notes panel.

  • If you print insurance claims rather than submitting them electronically, you must make sure to select a claim format (DX2012 for example) which supports the inclusion of diagnostic codes.
  • Dentrix versions G6.1 or later can automatically add ICD-10 diagnostic codes through a CDT Update utility.

See the following for topics in Dentrix Help more information on adding or editing dental diagnostic codes in Dentrix. You may also be interested in the Dentrix Does It video titled Diagnostic Codes on Dental Claim Forms.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

The Patient Balance Report

Updated 10/3/2019

If you want a really quick and easy-to-understand report that can give you a list of outstanding patient balances, consider the Patient Balance Report.

This report is easy to generate, and doesn't have a lot of filters to manipulate. Quite simply, you set a range of patients, providers, and/or billing types, and that's it.

To generate the Patient Balance Report:
  1. From the Office Manager, click Reports > Ledger > Patient Balance Report.
  2. Type the Report Date you want to print on the report.
  3. Do the following:
    • In the Select Patient group box, set the range of patients to include on the report.
    • In the Select Provider group box, set the range of providers to include on the report.
    • In the Select Billing Type group box, set the range of billing types to include on the report.
  4. Click OK to send the report to the Batch Processor.

Once generated, the Patient Balance Report is easy to interpret, and contains the following important information:

  1. Patient Details - The patient's name, chart number, home phone, work phone, and billing type.
    Note: an asterisk to the left of the patient name indicates a guarantor.
  2. Last Patient Pmt - The date of the patient's last payment.
  3. Last Visit Date - The date a procedure was last posted for the patient.
  4. Pend. Claims - Indicates whether the patient has pending insurance claims.
  5. Family Balance - The patient's family balance.
  6. Patient Balance - The patient's individual balance.

For additional information see the Patient Balance Report topic in Dentrix Help.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Joining Insurance Plans in Dentrix

Updated 10/3/2019

When multiple staff members enter patient information in Dentrix, there is a chance that duplicate information can be entered. One area where this can easily happen is with insurance carriers, group plans, or employers. Here are some general rules to follow when entering an insurance carrier in Dentrix:
  1. Look to see if the plan already exists in Dentrix.
  2. Enter the carrier name, plan name and group number as they appear on a patient's insurance card to avoid duplicate entries for the same plan with slightly different spellings.
  3. Because insurance carriers can be associated with different employers, be sure to enter employer information when applicable to help distinguish carriers with the same name.

If you find that you do have multiple instances of the same insurance carrier entered in Dentrix, you'll want to join the plans. Joining insurance carriers merges two carriers into one. In Dentrix, the Join Insurance Plans utility allows you to quickly move all subscribers from one insurance plan to another plan.

By joining the multiple instances of identical carriers in your database, it's easier to maintain your insurance plans. You won't have to update multiple plans, and as a result, you can avoid problems such as coverage table information being different, payment table overrides not being consistent, estimates not calculating correctly, etc.

For example: You discover than an insurance plan has been added into Dentrix twice. There are two identical carriers named Principal Financial Group with two different variations of the group plan name: Solutions Group (the correct name) and Solutions Group Plan (the incorrect name). You want to combine the two into a single, correctly named plan.

To join insurance plans:

  1. Close all Dentrix modules on all computers on the network.
  2. Open the Office Manager on a single computer and click Maintenance > Reference > Insurance Maintenance.

  3. Click Join Plans.

  4. In the Join Criteria group box, do one of the following:
    1. Employer-based - Select to move all subscribers attached to an insurance plan (source plan) linked to a specific employer to another insurance plan (destination plan) that is linked to the same employer.
      • Subscriber's Employer must match Insurance Plan employer field - (Optional) Select to move only subscribers who are assigned the same employer in the Family File.
    2. Plan-to-Plan - Select to join insurance plans regardless of employers.
  5. In the Select Insurance Plans to Join group box:
    1. Click the Source Insurance Plan search button. Select the insurance plan you want to move subscribers from, and click OK. (This is the plan you want to get rid of. In our example, that's "Solutions Group Plan".) 
    2. Click the Destination Insurance Plan search button. Select the insurance plan you want to move subscribers to, and click OK. (This is the plan you want to keep. In our example, that's "Solutions Group".)
  6. Click Join. A message appears asking you to confirm the change. To move all subscribers from the source insurance plan to the destination insurance plan, click Yes.
  7. A message appears at the completion of the merge, or if no subscribers matching the criteria associated with the Source insurance plan exist. Click OK.
Note: Joining insurance plans only changes the assigned insurance for the patient. It does not affect any claims previously created. Claims created in the future will use the new carrier information. Current open claims that have already been created will not be affected by the change.

Once you have joined the plans, you need to delete the now unused and "empty" plan so that it doesn't get assigned to more patients, and doesn't bog down your database. Take a look back at last week's Deleting Unused Insurance Plans in Dentrix post for details.

For more information, read the Joining Insurance Carriers topic in Dentrix Help, or the Maintaining Insurance Plan in Dentrix: 6 Things You Should Be Doing article in Dentrix Magazine.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Deleting Unused Insurance Plans in Dentrix

Updated 10/3/2019

It happens. You are entering insurance information in Dentrix for a new patient, and as you scroll through the list of carrier names one catches your eye and you think, "We haven't accepted that insurance in forever."

To keep your Dentrix database uncluttered, you may at times want to delete carriers from which you no longer accept insurance. Dentrix only allows you to delete insurance plans when they don't have subscribers attached, and only when all claims for the plan have been received. To find out whether an insurance carrier meets those two criteria, you should first run the Insurance Carrier List to find patients attached to the plan, and then the Insurance Aging Report to find out if there are any outstanding claims attached that would prevent you from deleting the plan.

It's worth noting that Dentrix uses the word "purge" as an equivalent to "delete" with regards to removing an insurance plan.

To purge an insurance plan:
  1. Run the Insurance Carrier List:
    • From the Office Manager, click Reports > Reference> Insurance Carrier List.
    • Select the desired insurance group range. Uncheck Standard List, and check Include Subscribers. Click OK.
    • In the Batch Processor, view or print the Dental Insurance Carriers and Subscribers list and use it to clear insurance from patients attached to the plan.
  2. Clear insurance plans attached to patients:
    • From the Family File, select a patient from the Insurance Carrier List.
    • Double-click the Insurance block to open the Insurance Information dialog box.
    • Click the Clear Primary (or Clear Secondary) button, and click OK.
    • Repeat these steps for all patients on the Insurance Carrier List.
  3. Run the Insurance Aging Report:
    • From the Office Manager, click Reports > Ledger > Insurance Aging Report.
    • Search for outstanding insurance claims by entering a range of carriers (the one(s) you are wanting to delete) from the Select Insurance Carrier group box, and click OK.
    • View or print the report to see if there are any claims outstanding for the carrier. If there are outstanding claims, you must wait until the claims have been paid to purge the insurance carrier.
  4. Delete insurance carriers using the Purge Dental Insurance Plans utility:
    • From the Office Manager, click Maintenance > Reference > Insurance Maintenance.

    • Click the Purge button to open the Purge Dental Insurance Plans dialog box.
      Note: Insurance plans do not appear in the Purge Dental Insurance Plans dialog box if there are patients attached to the plan or if there are outstanding claims attached to the plan.

    • Do one of the following:
      • To delete a single carrier, select the carrier and click Delete.
      • To delete all the listed carriers, click Delete All.
    • A warning message appears asking you to confirm the deletion of the selected plan(s). Click OK.
    • Click Close to return to the Insurance Maintenance dialog box.

For more information see the Deleting Insurance Carriers topic in Dentrix Help or the Maintaining Insurance Plan in Dentrix: 6 Things You Should Be Doing article in Dentrix Magazine.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Printing the Family Ledger Report

Updated 10/3/2019

The Family Ledger Report is an account history of all procedures, payments, adjustments, and service charges posted to the Ledger.

As the year comes to a close, you may find that patients would like a report of all the activity on their account for the year.

To print a Family Ledger Report for a selected family:

  1. With a patient selected in the Ledger, from the Print menu, click Family Ledger.

  2. In the First Transaction Date field, specify the earliest date that you want to include transactions for. To include the entire year, set this date to January 1.
    Note: By default, all current transactions (transactions that have been posted since the previous month was closed out) will be included on the report. For example, if the last month you have closed was September, and the selected family has procedures entered beginning on October 3, then October 3 will be the date that appears in the First Transaction Date field.
  3. Check the List Individual Patient Balances for Family box to separate and list patient balances at the bottom of the report.
  4. Click Print to print the report now, or click Send to Batch to store the report in the Batch Processor in the Office Manager.
If you want to print the Family Ledger Report for a range of accounts, you can do so from the Office Manager.

  1. From the Reports menu, select Ledger > Family Ledger.

  2. Type the Report Date you want to print on the report. The default is the current date.
  3. Enter a range of guarantors, providers, and billing types to include on the report.
  4. In the First Transaction Date field, specify the earliest date that you want to include transactions for.
  5. Check the Print Condensed Report box to print more than one family ledger on a single page. (Dentrix will not insert a page break between families.)
  6. Check the List Individual Patient Balances for Family box to separate and list patient balances at the bottom of each family report.
  7. Click OK to send to the Batch Processor.

Information on the Report

  1. Family History - Displays all financial transactions posted to the Ledger for all family members.
  2. Family Totals - Displays year-to-date totals for the family.
  3. Individual Balances - If you select List Individual Patient Balances for Family when setting options for this report, the current balance of each family member appears on the report.Note: When viewing the report, Dentrix labels items placed in history with an asterisk (*) and labels items dated in history but entered after month end with a caret (^).

For additional information, read the Family Ledger Report and Printing the Family Ledger Report topics in Dentrix Help.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Customizing the Appointment Book Hover Window

Updated 10/3/2019

When working in the Dentrix Appointment Book you have the ability to see additional patient information whenever you hover your mouse over an appointment. Interestingly, one of the top questions we get concerning the Hover window is "How do I turn it off?"

Many people get frustrated with the Hover window because the default setting is that it immediately appears when you hover over an appointment, blocking the Appointment Book underneath.  Luckily, you can customize the Hover window to make it better fit your preferences.

To customize the Hover window:
  1. From the Appointment Book, click Setup > Practice Appointment Setup.

  2. Click the Hover Detail Setup button.

  3. Click Hide or Show as appropriate to specify what information you want to display in the Hover window. A sample Hover window is shown on the right to give you an idea of what the window will look like when it appears.
    Note: The default (meaning if you have never gone in and changed these settings) is to show all the detail except the patient's Social Security number.
  4. To specify how quickly the Hover window appears over an appointment, click the slide bar for Hover Window Delay. Choose an option for the amount of time before the Hover window appears when you move your cursor over an appointment--between 0.5 seconds to 7 seconds. Likely a lot of your frustration comes because the Hover window pops up too quickly. Adjust the slider for a longer/shorter delay.
  5. To prevent the Hover window from displaying altogether, click the Disable Hover Window button. All options are grayed out, and the Hover window will not display in the Appointment Book.
  6. Once you have made your customizations, click OK to save.

Hover window settings are workstation specific, which means the settings that you want to see in the hover window on one computer will not carry through to the rest of your computers. These instructions must be followed on each computer where you wish to see changes to the hover window.

For more information about customizing the Hover Window feature, see the Patient Information at Your Fingertips article in Dentrix Magazine.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Understanding the Ledger Display - Updated for Dentrix G6

Updated 10/3/2019

A couple of years ago we did a post on Understanding the Ledger Display, and it has remained in our top 3 most popular posts ever since! But in Dentrix G6, the Ledger got a little bit of a facelift, and we wanted to make sure you could still understand the Ledger and how it looks today.

The Ledger window still contains a transaction log that lists all transactions posted to the patient's or family's account. But what's new is how that information is organized in columns on the screen.

There are 17 columns in the transaction log that provide additional information about each transaction:

  • Date - The date manually entered for the procedure/transaction. Usually this is the current date, but at times a different date may be used (such as when entering backdated procedures)
  • Entry Date - System-generated date (the current date) that indicates when the transaction was entered in Dentrix
  • Name - The patient's name
  • >Tooth - Tooth number, as applicable
  • Surface - Tooth surface(s) treated, as applicable
  • Check # - Check number or other information entered in the Check/Payment # field of the Enter Payment dialog box
  • Code - Procedure code or transaction code (ADA procedure codes appear for procedures, financial codes such as Pay, Ins, Adj, etc. appear for transactions)
  • * (Transactions Flags) - An asterisk (*) in this column indicates that the transaction has been moved into history. A plus sign (+) indicates that the procedure has been invalidated. A carat (^) indicates that the procedure has been back-dated to a month that has been closed out.
    Note: When the procedure is moved into history, the carat will change to an asterisk.
  • Description - A description of the procedure description or financial transaction
  • N (Has Note)- A musical note in this column indicates that a note is attached to the procedure or transaction
  • R (Has Referral by) - The letter "R" in this column indicates there is a related referral for this procedure
  • D (Has Diagnosis) - The letter "D" in this column indicates the procedure has diagnoses attached to it
  • M (Has Medical Cross Coding) - A solid triangle in this column indicates the procedure has been cross-coded for medical insurance billing. A hollow triangle indicates the procedure can be billed to medical insurance but that the cross code information has not yet been entered. A blue triangle indicates (solid or hollow) indicates the patient has medical insurance assigned in the Family File. A gray triangle indicates the patient does note have medical insurance assigned.
  • Amount - Amount charged for the procedure
  • Prov - Provider ID associated with the procedure or transaction
  • Ins (Insurance Claim Created)- "No" in this column indicates the procedure has not been submitted to the patient's insurance
  • Balance (Running Balance) - The patient's balance

The column headers in the Ledger can each be clicked to reorganize the information in the transaction log. For example, if you wanted to view the transaction log by tooth number, click the Tooth column heading. The information will be arranged first in ascending order, then if you click the Tooth column header a second time, the information is rearranged in descending order. Each column header behaves in a similar manner when the header is clicked. (To get back to a "standard" view, click the Date column header.)

You can also choose which columns to display on the screen. Right-click any column heading and a drop-down list appears showing all column options. Check or uncheck column names to have them appear (or not) in the window. For example, some offices might find that having the Entry Date column visible causes confusion, and want to remove it. (The Date column is visible by default and cannot be changed).

And finally, you can resize the width of any column by hovering your mouse over a column header dividing line. Your cursor will change from an arrow to a slider. Click and hold your mouse to expand or reduce the size of the column to fit your needs. You can also double-click the dividing line to auto-size the column to fit the data.

For additional tips regarding the Dentrix Ledger, see the following blog posts:

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Dentrix Notes Part V: Treatment Notes

Updated 10/3/2019

Over the last several weeks we have talked about the different areas within Dentrix where you can keep notes. Today's post rounds out the topic of Dentrix notes with treatment notes. Treatment notes are designed to help you keep a complete clinical record for each of your patients and include the following:
  • Clinical Notes - Clinical notes allow you to enter notations about medical conditions, treatment recommendations, or descriptions of work completed for a specific patient. You can write both free-form clinical notes, or use clinical note templates. Clinical notes can be signed and locked so that they cannot be edited. You can print clinical notes in a report.

  • Medical Alerts - You can use medical alerts to remind you of any allergies, illnesses, or conditions your patients may have.
  • Perio Exam Notes - Perio exam notes are automatically added to a perio exam and consist of the measurements taken during a general periodontal exam, including information about the gingiva, oral hygiene, and X-rays. By default, Dentrix sets the measurement values of perio exam notes to those of a normal healthy mouth.
  • Prescription Notes - You can provide patients with more detailed dosage and usage instructions for a prescription in the Prescription Note field of the New Patient Prescription dialog box. The prescription note appears when you print a prescription.
  • Procedure Notes - Each time you enter a procedure, you can attach a note. Usually, the procedure note would be used to document clinical information about the procedure performed. However, that information can also be entered into the clinical notes. Procedure notes are locked when a procedure is moved into history following the closing of the month. Procedure notes can be printed from the Progress Notes panel.
  • Progress Notes - Progress notes are not text notes. Instead, progress notes are a list of all treatment-planned, completed, referred, and existing work. They can also include conditions, exams, and clinical notes, if desired. You can print the progress notes from the Patient Chart.
  • Treatment Plan Notes - In the Treatment Planner you can add two kinds of notes: Case Notes and Case Status History Notes. Case notes are text notes that you can add to any individual treatment plan case. (You can also set up default case notes if desired that will be automatically assigned to each new case.) Case notes print on the Case Presentation report. Case Status History Notes are short "comments" that you can add when the status of a case changes.
  • Recommendation Notes - Recommendation notes are pre-written notes that can be automatically printed for patients when they have a specific procedure performed and your print them a walkout statement.
  • Referral Recap Notes - The referral recap note allows you to add notes for the referring provider when you generate a Referral Recap report.
  • Referral Slip Notes - The referral slip note allows you to add a note to the referred-to provider when you generate a referral slip for a patient.

And in case you missed them, be sure to read our previous posts concerning Scheduling Notes, Patient Information Notes, Financial Notes, and Insurance Notes.

Have you ever written a patient note and forgotten just where in Dentrix you put it? Read a post titled, Where Did I Put That Patient Note? that explains how to use the Patient Note Report.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Dentrix Notes Part IV: Insurance Notes

Updated 10/3/2019

For the last three weeks we've been talking about different areas within Dentrix where you can keep 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.

In the Insurance Claim window, there are three kinds of notes that can be entered:

  1. Claim Note - This note (also called Remarks for Unusual Services) can be used to write short claim narratives that are submitted with the claim. Keep your notes brief, as only 101 characters will display on printed claims, and only 125 characters are sent on electric claims. TIP: You can utilize custom claim remarks templates to make your entries quick and consistent.
  2. Claim Status Note - This note is not submitted with the claim and can be used to document tracking information for the claim once it has been sent. This note can also be printed on the Insurance Claim Aging Report.
  3. Insurance Plan Note - This note should be used to keep track of plan limitations and exclusions that can't be attached to the coverage or payment tables. Insurance plan notes are specific to the insurance carrier and not individual patients. The note displays for all patients covered by the same insurance plan. This note does not print on insurance claims.

To enter notes, double-click the appropriate block within the claim window, enter the information and click OK to close the window and save the note. The Insurance Plan Note can also be accessed from the Office Manager by clicking Maintenance > Reference > Insurance Maintenance. Then select the insurance plan and click the Cov Table button. From the Insurance Coverage dialog box that appears, click the Notes button and enter the note.
If you missed them, be sure to read our previous posts about Scheduling Notes, Patient Information Notes, and Financial Notes. And stay tuned for our final post next week about clinical notes.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Dentrix Notes Part III: Financial Notes

Updated 10/3/2019

If you've been reading our blog the last couple of weeks, you know the importance of keeping notes in Dentrix, and keeping them in the right location. The Ledger is another key area where notes are valuable. 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.

There are a couple of different financial notes, and we'll explain each of them each below.

  • Guarantor Notes and Billing Statement Notes - both notes are accessed by selecting a patient in the Ledger and clicking the Guarantor Notes button or by clicking File > Guarantor Notes.

    • Guarantor Note - The top part of the Guarantor Notes dialog box has an Account Note field where you can enter financial notes about the account. Every patient in the family shares the guarantor note.
    • Billing Statement Note - The bottom part of the Guarantor Notes dialog box has a Billing Statement Note field that should be used to enter text or reminders that you want to print on the billing statement for the selected family. This field is limited to 82 characters, and you have the options of using any custom billing statement notes you may have created previously, and entering a Print on Statement until date.
  • Payment Agreement Note - This note should be used to record any information related to a payment agreement that is included in the payment agreement terms. The terms of the payment agreement can be added to the Payment Agreement Note field by clicking the Copy Agreement to Note button (they appear in the field with a ***NEW*** heading). Additionally, when a payment agreement is cleared from a patient, a copy of the terms of the cleared agreement are entered in this field (under a ***CLEARED*** heading).

  • Payment Plan Note - This note should be used to record any information related to a Future Due Payment Plan that is included in the payment plan terms.
  • Transaction Note - Similar to a procedure note, you can add notes to any financial transaction posted to the Ledger, including payments, adjustments, finance charges, and late charges.

Be sure to read our previous posts about Scheduling Notes and Patient Information Notes. And stay tuned for next week's Tip Tuesday post about notes dealing with insurance.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Dentrix Notes Part II: Patient Information Notes

Updated 10/3/2019

Continuing on the theme of Dentrix notes, today's tip will focus on the kinds of notes you can use to document patient information. While you could argue that every kind of note could technically be called "patient information," keep in mind that in the coming weeks we will still be covering financial notes, insurance notes, and clinical notes. Today's post deals with those notes that are specific to individual patients.
  • Document Note - Each time you add a document or image to the Document Center, you can attach a note to the file as part of the Document Information dialog box. You can use this note to clarify information about the document being saved. For more information, see the Entering Document Information Dentrix Help topic.
  • Office Journal Notes - Notes in the Office Journal have two main functions: to keep a record of past events and to remind you of events in the future. Dentrix adds automatic notes to the Office Journal, and you can manually add the following notes: Phone Call, Reminder, Miscellaneous, and HIPAA Privacy. For more information about the kinds of notes that are automatically entered in the Office Journal see the Understanding the Office Journal blog post.

  • Patient Note - Patient notes apply only to an individual patient, and can be used to keep track of personal information about the patient that doesn't belong in more specific areas. You might include information about hobbies, preferences, family situations, etc. You can choose to print patient notes on the route slip, and can hide them from displaying in the Family File. For more information, see the Entering or Editing Patient Notes Dentrix Help topic.
  • Patient Alert Note - Patient alerts are pop-up messages to remind you of important information. You can create a patient alert for a single patient, an entire family, or selected members of a family. You can set a time limit on patient alerts so that you only see the alert when the information is timely, and you can select which tasks in Dentrix activate the alert so that you only see the alert when it is pertinent. For additional information, refer to our previous post about Effectively Using Patient Alerts.
  • Referral Analysis - As you are reviewing referral information, you can add notes about your referral program in the Note dialog box accessible from the Referral Analysis dialog box. These notes will show anytime you attach the referral source to a patient. Additional information can be found in the Analyzing Referrals by Patients Dentrix Help topic.

If you missed it, be sure to read last week's tip about Scheduling Notes. And stay tuned for next week's Tip Tuesday post about financial notes.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Dentrix Notes Part I: Scheduling

Updated 10/3/2019

Sticky notes were a great invention, and I'm sure we've all used them for one reason or another since they came out back in the early 1980s. But a patient chart that becomes completely covered with yellow squares of scribbled notes without any method of sorting or prioritizing the pieces of information quickly has you wondering if there is a better way to organize your notes. With Dentrix, you have a variety of features that not only allow you to make note of patient information, but allow you to use that information more effectively.

By ditching the sticky notes, and revamping your note organization in Dentrix, you can discover the many places where patient notes can be stored and how you can manage that information in more effective ways.

Over the next few weeks, the Tip Tuesday blog will cover the different kinds of notes you can enter in Dentrix, their purpose and use, and from which modules you can access these notes. Notes will be divided into the following areas: Scheduling Notes, Patient Information Notes, Financial Notes, Insurance Notes, and Clinical Notes.

This week, we'll tackle Scheduling Notes:
  • Appointment Note - Appointment notes are attached directly to an appointment and usually reference special situations that the office should be aware of before seeing a patient. The Appointment Note can be printed on the route slip, patient visit form, and Daily Huddle report. For more information, see the Scheduling Appointments Dentrix Help topic.
  • Appointment Book Day Note - An Appointment Book Day Note is available for each day of the year and is generally used to keep track of information for a certain date. Appointment Book Day Notes are displayed on each workstation in the office. They are not specific to a patient. For more information, see the Creating Day Notes Dentrix Help topic.

  • Continuing Care Motivational Note - The Motivational Note available in the Continuing Care type dialog box was designed to create personalized messages to be printed on continuing care reminder cards. You can also use the note to keep track of special circumstances related to continuing care, but you must be careful to hide any text you don't want to print on the patient's card. For more information, see the Assigning Continuing Care Types Dentrix Help topic, specifically, step 9.
  • Lab Case Notes - Notes about a lab case can be entered in the Lab Case Note field. For more information, see the Creating Lab Cases Dentrix Help topic, specifically, step 2.

To learn about note field character limitations, see knowledgebase article #24903, Character Limits in Dentrix, in the Dentrix Resource Center.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Track Family Financial Situations with the Guarantor Note

Updated 9/23/2019

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: If 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

Updated 9/23/2019

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 which, when added together, equal the payment amount you are trying to correct.
  3. From the Ledger menu, select Transaction > Enter Adjustment.

  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.

  10. In the Date field, enter the date the original payment was made.
  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, read the information under the Credit and Charge Adjustments topic in Dentrix Help.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Catch Unsubmitted Claims with the Insurance Claims to Process Report

Updated 9/23/2019

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.
Note: This report will NOT show you claims that have been deleted.

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.

  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. Select the range of patients, insurance carriers, and providers you want to include on the report.
  5. In the Select Date field, enter the creation date range of insurance claims that you want to include.
  6. 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. Or read the Follow Through for Successful Claims and Don't Leave Money on the Table articles in Dentrix Magazine.