Wednesday, December 6, 2017

No More Excuses for Running the Month End Tasks

I installed Dentrix G6.6 yesterday so I could play around with the new features and I am excited about all of them. However, there is one that I want to focus on today. A couple of weeks ago, I asked, “Why are you not Running Month End?” I am amazed at the number of offices that are not up to date on the month end process and have every excuse in the book for why they have not preformed this task. With Dentrix G6.6, there are no more excuses not to run the month end process. In fact, you can customize your month end process to fit the needs of your practice. Let me tell you what I mean.

First, there is no excuse that everyone must be closed out of Dentrix to run month end. In G6.6, that requirement has been removed so you can run the month end tasks anytime you want, even in the middle of the day.

Next, you can piece out your month end tasks and decide when to run them based on your practice. In the previous version of Month End, it would complete multiple tasks all in one fell swoop. These tasks included . . .
  • Put ledger transactions into history
  • Age your patients account balances
  • Move the ending balance from the previous month into the beginning balance of the new month
  • Lock up your clinical notes into history
  • Reset your patient’s insurance benefits used back to zero
In the new version of the Month End Task Scheduler, you can choose these tasks separately or schedule them to run on a routine schedule without you asking. In the new Month End version, here is how you could manage these tasks separately . . .
  • Close Transactions – This new feature in the Task Manager affects the numbers and reports and could be scheduled on a daily, weekly or monthly basis. You could also run it manually whenever you want. This task will move the ledger transactions into history, age your account balances and move the ending balance into the beginning balance of the new month. I would still recommend scheduling this on a monthly basis.
  • Move Clinical Notes to History – You can now have full control of when you lock up your clinical notes instead of having it tied to the month end process. This is a great feature for your clinical team and will give you peace of mind that your clinical documentation cannot be deleted or altered. My recommendation would be to schedule this task on a daily or weekly basis.
  • Reset Insurance Benefits – Now if you are not quite ready to close the transactions on your patient’s ledger but you want your treatment plan estimates to be more accurate, you can reset the insurance benefits on its own each month. Whoo Hoo!!! I would recommend scheduling this task on a monthly basis.

There are no more excuses with the Dentrix G6.6 update on managing your month end tasks and keeping your system running smoothly. You now have more freedom and flexibility.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

15 Ways to Make Scheduling Easier

During this year’s Business of Dentistry Conference, I had the pleasure of teaching four courses with seven time slots.  It shows how committed Henry Schein is to providing continuing education and giving the audience a variety of topics.  One of the Dentrix topics I taught was titled “15 Ways to Make Scheduling Easier” and I thought this would make a great blog article and would give me the opportunity to give you yet another resource to have in your back pocket.

Here is the list we talked about during the course and I have pointed to articles that will give you more information about each item in the list. 

  1. Appointment Book Keyboard Shortcuts
    1. F1, F2, F3, etc (Function Keys) correspond to the View on your Appointment Book. 
    2. Shift + F2 - Opens the Select Patient dialog box and, after you select a patient, opens the Appointment Information dialog box for that patient.
    3. Ctrl + D - Switches the Appointment Book to the Day view.
    4. Ctrl + W - Switches the Appointment Book to the Week view.
    5. Ctrl + M - Switches the Appointment Book to the Month view.
  2. Customize the Initial Reason Box – this box is used for the most common things you schedule that would not require a tooth number or surface.  You can add multi-codes, single ADA codes and your “in-office” here.  CLICK HERE to read a related article.
  3. Adjusting Procedure Time Units – in the ADA procedure code setup you can adjust the length of time for reach procedure and also assign the / for assistant time and the X for doctor time. Go to the Office Manager > Maintenance > Practice Setup > Procedure Code Setup.
  4. Customize the Appointment Display – Here you can customize what you view in your appointment from the names to phone numbers.  Some of my favorite new additions is age, mobile phone and additional provider.   CLICK HERE to read a related article.
  5. View Appointment History – this keeps track of all appointment changes and will track which team member made the change if you are using passwords.
  6. Setup Flip Tabs – this is quick way to move forward in the appointment book using a set amount of time.  From the Appointment book click on Setup > Flip Tabs Setup and set your parameters.
  7. Searching for patients who are scheduled today – An easy way to see all the patients on the schedule for a particular day is to use the Appointment tab on the Select Patient window.
  8. Use the Schedule Next Button – this button is inside of the appointment window and can be used to easily schedule a patient from today with their next visit.  Just click on Schedule Next, add the appointment info and pinboard to schedule.
  9. Close the office on a selected day – instead of using events for everything, I would recommend closing the day. This will help with the visual aspect on the appointment book and also help the Practice Advisor Report be more accurate. For more information on the appointment book setup CLICK HERE
  10. Scheduling an Event – Just right click and block out a team meeting or luncheon.  CLICK HERE to read more about how to use events.
  11. Seeing all appointments for a family at once – you can find this in two different ways.  Double click on the patient’s appointment and then click on the Other Appts button or highlight the patient’s appointment and click on the More Information icon on the toolbar.
  12. Use the Wait/Will Call Button – use this to store an appointment for a short period of time on the Unscheduled List.  For more information on using the Unscheduled List more effectively CLICK HERE
  13. Use the ASAP List – this list can be such a critical element to keeping your schedule full.  I wrote an article about how to use this list in a much more creative way, CLICK HERE to read it.
  14. Use the Open List – Similar to the ASAP list you can use this status if a patient is open to changing their appointment.
  15. Generating a Scheduled Patient Summary – this is a great tool for the entire team and especially a new team member. 
I hope this list helps you realize some of the scheduling tools available that you might not be using.  

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

MEGA Multi-Codes

Treatment planning is probably one of the most asked for training topics that I get because the team feels like it takes too long and there should be a better way. There are many things with treatment planning that can be more efficient and will help your team save time and create more consistency. When we think of treatment planning, let’s look at the process from start to finish and see where we can make efficiencies.
  • Using multi-codes can help treatment planning be faster and more complete. Did you know that you can put a multi-code inside of a multi-code? Yes! You can create a six-procedure multi-code and add it to another six-procedure code to give you a full treatment plan of 12 procedures. Since I have been working with several specialists who have extensive treatment plans with multiple steps, it has been a lifesaver to be able to create these MEGA Multi-Codes buttons.
  • Once you have your Multi-Codes created, then attach them to a Procedure Button. Using a button can reduce the amount of “clicks” significantly each day and can help the clinical team identify a picture with a treatment plan instead of searching through a list.
  • Create a templated treatment plan so wherever you print out the estimate for the patient, it will come out looking exactly the same. From the Treatment Plan panel or Treatment Plan module, click on the printer icon then select all the parameters you want and the display you like, then click on Preview so you can look at it. When you settle on 2-3 displays that you like, then save it by clicking on the lower left button that says Save Options. I would recommend having different views for your PPO plan patients, insurance patients and cash patients. Then your team members can click on the drop down menu at the upper left corner and selected a templated print option. This will guarantee that the Treatment Plan estimates will look the same from any workstation you are working from.

Anytime you can create consistency and efficiency, it will help your team be more productive and eliminate frustrations. 

Monday, November 13, 2017

Get Ready . . . Dentrix G6.6 is right around the corner!

As I continue to update you about some of the amazing things I learned at the Dentrix Train the
Trainer meeting a couple of weeks ago, today’s post is to show off the cool feature updates coming out with Dentrix G6.6.

By now, you may have been receiving notifications that the Dentrix G6.6 update is available and ready for download. This is an important update because there are a few requirements that you all need to be aware of.

Before I talk about all the cool stuff, I want to bring you up to speed on the requirements so you can be informed before you click “yes” to download.

  • Dentrix Passwords Required for All Users - In the first half of 2018, Dentrix will begin requiring passwords for all users with minimum complexity requirements. In anticipation of that release, please prepare today by ensuring your passwords are enabled and that all users have appropriate access to the various areas of Dentrix. You can also start using the new complexity requirements now that include (1) a minimum of eight characters and (2) at least one uppercase and one lowercase alpha character, at least one numeric character, and at least one special character (e.g. #@$*).
  • New Operating System Requirements Coming - Effective with the release of Dentrix G6.6 — and for future, planned Dentrix versions — the following minimum operating systems will be supported:

o   Servers
§  Windows Server 2016
§  Windows Server 2012 Standard/Datacenter (R1/R2)
§  Windows Server 2008 Standard/Enterprise/Datacenter (R2 SP1)
o   Workstations
§  Windows 10
§  Windows 8.1 Professional/Enterprise
§  Windows 7 Professional/Enterprise/Ultimate (SP1)

Now, let’s talk new feature updates.
  • The Month End Wizard is being re-branded as the Month End Task Scheduler. Probably the best part of this feature upgrade is . . . . You are no longer required to close all Dentrix modules to run month end! I know, right? Super awesome!
  • You can schedule daily, weekly and monthly tasks and reports to run automatically for you. This is amazing because if you have read my Best Practices Series for Daily, Weekly and Monthly, you will be able to set up your Task Scheduler to run many of these reports automatically.
  • There is now a new Appointment List Manager. The ASAP, Pinboard, Unscheduled List and Appointment List have been combined into one list that is searchable.  In additional to this you will be able to send out a text message to groups of people directly from this Appointment List in order to help you fill last minute openings. 
  • Your Active Patient Base is about to be more accurate.  Many of you post a broken appointment fee on the ledger or other "fake" codes for administrative things and in turn this has always updated the patients last visit date which skews your Active Patient Base numbers.  In G6.6 you will be able to post a procedure on the ledger without it updating the LVD.  I say "Whoo Hoo"
  • And my absolute favorite . . . more new features and updates to the Questionnaire module.

·       There are many, many more new features as well. However, the ones listed above were some of my favorites.

Reach out to your local trainer for special pricing on Dentrix G6 training for your team. If you don’t know who your local trainer is, I can find out for you. Just email me directly at

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Why are you not running Month End?

Why are you not running the month end process? Is it because you might need to edit something on the ledger or change a clinical note? These are not good reasons to hold out on running your month end process. Now I realize some of you might not agree with me. However, I think most accountants and attorneys would agree that this is not best practices.

Running the month end is so important and critical to having accurate numbers and legal documentation. I was recently teaching a class and one of the audience members refuses to run month end because she wants the ability to edit the ledger. If I was a business owner, this would send up huge red flags for me.

The month end process tackles five key things that help your system run better and more secure…
  1. It locks up your patient ledger into history, so you cannot make edits to charges, payments or adjustments. You can still edit an open claim if needed. If you need to delete a claim and resend the charges to a different insurance plan, you can still do that as long as the claim is still open and no payments have been made to it.
  2. It locks up your clinical notes into history, so you cannot edit the note or delete it. If you need to edit a clinical note or it was accidentally posted to the wrong patient, you can make an addendum. This process is the legal and more responsible way to handle your clinical documentation.
  3. The month end process will reset the insurance benefits used back to zero if the insurance plan renews that month. This will help your team give more accurate treatment plan estimates.
  4. During month end, the ending balance from the previous month will be moved into the beginning balance of the new month. This will ensure that your accounts receivable balances are more accurate on reports like the Practice Analysis, Analysis Summary and the Provider A/R report.
  5. Your patient balances are moved from one aging category to the next during the month end process.  If you never run month end, then your account balances will always stay current.

Be responsible and put the month end process at the top of your priority list each month. There are new updates coming with the month end process so keep your eye out for a blog on that coming soon.

Friday, October 27, 2017

Create different fees for the single PA vs. your PA in a series

Insurance companies are really starting to crack down on how they pay for routine diagnostic X-rays and even going as far as launching audits on dental practices that they feel are “over taking” these X-rays, a critical piece to taking care of our patients. One thing I am hearing a lot is the routine series of 4 bitewings and PA’s being downgraded or even denied based on the FMX or Pano fee. What this means is that the insurance company sees the fee you are submitting for the routine series is higher than the fee for the FMX or Pano. Let me give you a tip to help fix this.

If you are using fee schedules in Dentrix and you are posting the normal D0220 and D0230 along with the D0274 codes, your patient ledger might look okay. However, remember if you are, then using the DX2012F claim format to send out full fee on your claim form the total combined fee could exceed your contracted fee and the insurance company will deny it. If you are not using fee schedules, then you might be overriding the fee on the ledger to reduce the fees for the PA’s before you create a claim which is creating a lot more work for you and your team.

What if you just created new procedure codes for your series PA’s instead of using the ADA-issued codes? Yes, it can be done. Back in 2013, I posted up a blog that talked about this same issue when you want to attach a tooth number to the PA and sometimes not. The same concept applies here. You can create two new codes so you can have different fees attached to each one. Then you could even create a multi-code for your routine X-ray series add it to the initial box so you are always pulling the right fees into your hygiene visits.

Go to the Office Manager > Maintenance > Procedure Code Setup > click New, then fill in the blanks:
  • Description – This will show on the insurance claim and the patient billing statement
  • ADA code – My recommendation would be D0220. and D0230. Notice that I put a period at the end of the code because the insurance claim will on take four characters, so it will drop the period off the claim form.
  • Abbv Description – This will show in the appointment
  • Treatment Area – Select Mouth so the code will not ask for a tooth number
  • Fee – Create a fee so your series will not exceed your FMX or Pano fee

Now with the five characters, you will not be able to add this code to your Initial Reason box inside of the appointment. Therefore, you have the option of creating a multi-code for your entire series and adding the multi-code to the Initial Reason box. Remember that all multi-codes need to have at least one time unit so if you add or subtract this multi-code to your appointment, you may need to adjust the time of the appointment.

If you want to re-read my blog from 2013 on this similar topic CLICK HERE to be directed. I hope this tip helps you bill out X-rays more accurately and avoid unnecessary denials to your diagnostic X-ray series.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

More tips for getting your claims paid faster

Last week, I attended the annual Dentrix Train the Trainer conference. At this conference, I get to be the student and learn about all the new features being release in the next year. Over the next few months, you will be reading about some of the amazing updates coming out with eServices, Dentrix Pay and your Dentrix software.

Today, I want to give you some things I learned about the current eClaims service and how you can increase the success of your claims getting paid faster.
  • Always batch your claims and send out in a group. What I learned at the conference is that if you send claims in real time or what might be called a “one off” claim, there is a greater chance of getting a duplicate claim.
    • You can turn off the option of sending claims in real time so it will stop asking you every time you create a claim on the ledger. Go to the Ledger > File > Direct Processing Options and uncheck the “Display Real Time Payor Notice”. The is very common with Metlife claims.
    • When you batch your claims, you will get one set of eClaims reports instead of a set of reports with every real time claim. This will save on the amount of reports that display on your Batch Processor. This is more of an annoyance than a tip for quicker payment.
  • If you are not sure of the Payor ID, the Payor Search tool on the Dentrix website is more up-to-date than the Payor ID list in the Insurance Info window. Remember that the Payor ID is the electronic address and, if you have the wrong Payor ID listed, it will slow down the payment of your claim. CLICK HERE to be directed to the Payor Search Tool on the Dentrix website.
  • You should NEVER have to resend a claim if you have a DC#. What is a DC#? It is the Document Control Number or the confirmation number that the insurance company has received your claim. With this number, you can always find your claim and hold the insurance company accountable to find it. For more info on this tip, CLICK HERE to read more about the reports and confirmation numbers.

If your office sends a lot of claims every day, I would recommend sending a batch of claims at lunch and then sending a batch of claims at the end of the day. This will break up the process and give you a smaller list of claims to go through each day. My recommendation is that claims get sent out within 24 hours of date of service.