Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Medical Billing or Bust - what you need to know now

I had the pleasure of speaking last week at the annual American Association of Dental Office Managers (AADOM) meeting in Boca Rotan, Fla. My topic, Medical Billing or Bust, is a passion of mine and anytime I have the opportunity to spread the word about how you can change the world and change the lives of your patients is important to me. Keep your eyes open for registration to The Business of Dentistry Conference coming up in August 2017 where I will be teaching the Medical Billing or Bust to Dentrix users.

There are several things I can bring you up to speed now in this article that will help you understand how to set it up in your Dentrix software. Medical billing is not only about trying to maximize your patients’ benefits that they might not have access to, but it is also about providing the necessary coding for other organizations to use for growing awareness about disease patterns. With this being said, you can use medical coding on both the ADA claim form and the HCFA medical claim form.

Here are a few things to know now . . .
  • You will need to upgrade your Dentrix software to G6.1 in order to using medical coding on any claim form and send out a claim. This upgrade was released on October 1, 2015 so it has been out for almost a year.
  • When you upgrade to Dentrix G6.1, the software will include the most common ICD-10 codes for a dental office. This will save you a ton of time with having to input these codes. If there are some codes not included that you need, you can manually enter them into your system.
  • Make sure the HCFA claim form is added into the Definitions because you will need to attach it to the insurance plan information. There are several medical claim forms available. If you need a different format than the HCFA, you can search the Dentrix Knowledge base for the article that lists all the medical claim forms available so you can add the one you need into the Definitions.
  • When you upgrade to Dentrix G6.1 and you have not done any medical billing yet, you will need to add in all your CPT codes, Modifiers, Place or Service codes and Type of Service codes. If you need resources for these codes, please email me directly and I can send you a resource page at dayna@raedentalmanagement.com

For more information on medical billing, please read these past articles . . .

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Three tips for an accurate list of patients with unused insurance benefits

We have all heard the phrase “Garbage in, Garbage out.” This phrase comes into play especially when you and your team are trying to generate a list of patients who have unscheduled treatment and unused insurance benefits. Since this is typically the time of year when you want to start reminding patients to use or lose their unused insurance benefits, you want to make sure that this amount used is not a bunch of garbage. 

How do you make sure your unused insurance benefits is a number you can count on? 

Here are three tips . . .
  • Make sure you are up to date on month end. One of the many tasks that the month end procedure will tackle is resetting the insurance benefits used back to zero. I was in a practice a couple of months ago and one reason they have never been able to trust their treatment plan estimates is because they had not performed a month end since 2009. RUN MONTH END!
  • When you are setting up the insurance plan, make sure that the benefit renewal date is set accurately. Open the Insurance Data window. About halfway down, there is a benefit renewal date. Make sure this is accurate.
  • Update the patient’s insurance amount used if he or she has gone to a specialist or used benefits at another practice. Open the deductibles tab in the insurance window and manually update the benefits used. This way, when you search for a list of patients with remaining insurance benefits, you will get an accurate list.

For more information on how to run the reports and exports the lists, check out these past articles.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

5 Ways to trust the data on the Practice Advisor Report

Last week, I had the honor of attending the Henry Schein Practice Solutions
consultant summit. It is a time every two years where dental consultants and industry leaders get together with the Henry Schein team and discuss the challenges the dental practice is facing and what lies ahead in the future. This helps the R&D department work on enhancements to the many products and services we use every day in our dental practice. It is one of the most amazing brainstorming sessions I have ever attended. It is also a lot of fun.

With that being said, a blog topic idea came into my head while I was listening to Tammy Barker speak about Profitability Coaching and how her team spends quite a bit of time with their clients on making sure the data being displayed on the KPI reports is as accurate as possible. I share the same goal and want all of you to understand how to make sure your numbers are as accurate as possible.

There are five key numbers on the Practice Advisor that are critical to the health and success of your practice. Your team needs to know what they do in the software affects the outcome of these statistics.
  • Case Acceptance – Dentrix can track your case acceptance accurately if your team manages the treatment plans appropriately. The way Dentrix tracks the monthly case acceptance is if the treatment is diagnosed and completed in the same month OR if your mark the case as accepted. For more about managing treatment plans, CLICK HERE.
  • Production per day – This is entirely dependent on the setup of the appointment book. You must have your office days, provider days and hours set up accurately in order to get an accurate production per day number. I feel this number is more important than the production per month. To learn more about setting up the appointment to perfection, CLICK HERE.
  • New Patients – Dentrix tracks new patients based on the first visit date located in the Family File. It also will count a patient as a new patient if this date is empty. The best way to track this on a daily basis is to use the Daily Huddle Report. If you want to read more about the Daily Huddle, CLICKHERE.
  • Referrals – Your total new patients should match the total number of referral sources. This is important because you want to see where your patients are coming from and know how to spend your marketing dollars. For these two numbers to be accurate, the First Visit Date and the Referral Date must match. I wrote about this back in January and you can re-read it by CLICKING HERE.
  • Active Patient Base – The active patient base on the Practice Advisor Report looks at the last visit date and how many patients have come in for an appointment within a certain amount of time. This one could get a little tricky for the office that posts a procedure code for things like missed appointments and other non-appointment tracking on the ledger. Every time you post something to the ledger with a procedure code, it will update the last visit date and now your Active Patient Base is updated. You can read more about this topic by CLICKING HERE.

This topic of accurate numbers and learning to trust your reports is so important. It is one of the most requested topics I get and one of the most-asked questions I receive from Dentrix users. 

Monday, August 29, 2016

What an amazing marketing tool!

Have you stopped using Dentrix mobile? If so, may I ask what you are using as a login tool instead? If there is something easier and more tightly integrated with your Dentrix software other than Dentrix Mobile, I would like to know about it. 

Maybe it’s just that you don’t know what Dentrix Mobile is or you haven’t been taught how to use it.  Over the past few years, I have seen a decline in awareness and use of Dentrix Mobile so I felt it was time to re-post about this useful tool and remind you that it is part of your customer service agreement. 

One of the greatest marketing tasks you can do at your practice is follow up with patients after a surgical or challenging appointment. You can easily log into Dentrix Mobile and see your appointment book and look up patient information to make those important calls. 

I just finished two of the best books on the market right now for the dental practice, Everything is Marketing and Becoming Remarkable by Fred Joyal. One thing that he recommends in his books is for the doctor to call new patients, welcome them to the practice and ask if there is anything he or she should know before their visit tomorrow. What an amazing marketing tool! This can easily be done using your Dentrix Mobile service because you can make the calls from anywhere and see your appointment book at a glance.

If you would like to read my blog from 2013 (which is still very pertinent today) about Dentrix Mobile, CLICK HERE to be directed.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Don't settle on the defaults

Okay, I get it. You are not quite ready to dive into electronic forms, load them up on your website for patients to fill out online or link them up to an iPad. If you are wanting to go paperless, then using the document center in Dentrix is going to be how you will manage all your paper forms. What I am finding with so many offices is that they think they have to settle with the default settings that came with the Dentrix installation.

Since the document center will be your best friend when it comes to paper storage, here are some tips to make it work as best as it can for you.
When you think of the document center, think of it like a big file cabinet with hanging file folders and then you put the pieces of paper into it. I want you to customize the names of the hanging file folders just like you would in a real file cabinet.

Here are some examples . . .
  • Referring Doctor Letters
  • Lab Slips
  • Original Forms from Paper Chart
  • New Patient Forms
  • Health History Update (of course if you read my blog you know that I love the Questionnaire module for HHX)
  • Consent Forms
  • Pre-Op Forms

So how do you edit the category types? Open the document center > setup > document types, then you can edit the existing names and/or create new ones. Create verbiage that your team will understand and will make it easier to find information.

NOTE: If you are using the feature that sends a virtual copy of the patient billing statement to the document center, make sure you keep the Billing Statements line item at the top of the list.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

It's the little things . . .

It’s the little things that matter.  I hear that statement all the time being out in the
dental industry working with dental practices from all over the country. I love it when I show clients something and their eyes light up because they now know something that is so simple but makes such a huge impact on their day.

Dentrix is by far the most comprehensive and feature-rich practice management software in the industry and this is why it is the leading software for dentists.  However, when a keystroke or menu maneuver helps you do something better, faster and easier, it is HUGE.

Here are some of the top “Ah-Ha” moments I have seen over my career as a certified Dentrix trainer.

  • Printing the full day of Route Slips or sorting them.  When I walk into an office and I see in the Batch Processor 30-60 single Route Slips being printed, I know this office does not know how to print out the whole day at one time.  There are two ways to accomplish this . . .
    • Office manager > Reports > Lists > Daily Appointment List > check mark Patient Route Slips and send to the Batch.  From this menu, you can also sort by provider or operatory.
    • You can also print the Route Slips within the Daily Huddle Report.
  • Filter the Office Journal.  If you have been reading my blog, you know how much I love the office journal and I recommend all teams use it for admin communication with patients.  However, I find that a lot of offices refuse to use it because it takes so long to load.  Good news! You can filter your office journal so it will load less information and speed it up.  Open the office journal and click on View and then Filters.  Here you can select only the information you want to list in your view and you can select a starting date so it doesn’t look back to the beginning of time.
  • Lock your computer with a CTRL + ALT + DEL and select LOCK COMPUTER when you leave your workstation. This way, you do not have to close down all your Dentrix windows to secure your computer.

Let me know what some of your “Ah-Ha” moments are.  I would love to hear your stories and quick tips to share.  You can comment  on this post or email me directly.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Give your scanner a break . . . two ways to eliminate scanning

Does your front office have a basket over flowing with papers with a sign on it that reads “TO BE SCANNED?” No one in the office wants to touch it because it is one of those tedious tasks that no one wants to do … so it just grows and grows. I know how you feel and many practices I work with say that scanning is one of the biggest pain points they deal with every day.

Let’s look at how we could cut that pile of paper in half … but first let’s look at what’s in that pile and how we can deal with it in the electronic world. Some examples of what ends up in that pile of “TO BE SCANNED” paper are . . .
  • Letters from specialists
  • Treatment plan estimates
  • Insurance EOBs and pre-estimates
  • New patient forms
  • Health history updates
  • Consent forms
  •  Letters to/from patients

We can’t really do much with the paper that comes in through the mail because it is already in a paper form. There is not much we can do other than scan it. What I would recommend is reaching out to the people who are sending you paper and see if you can receive electronic correspondence or (even better) see if they can send the letter as an attachment to an email. NOTE: Make sure you are using a HIPAA-compliant email service when you are sending protected patient information.

There are two in-house ways you can eliminate the scanning without adding any additional cost or third-party service.
  1. “Send to the Dentrix Document Center” is the easiest, most efficient way to get a document into the Document Center without scanning. This can be used for anything you receive in an email, off a website (insurance breakdowns, EOBs, etc.) or as an attachment. You can also send all your treatment plan estimates to the Document Center using this feature and then have the patient sign in the Document Center using an electronic signature device. If your referring doctors are still sending their follow up letter in the mail, you can implement a way for them to send it to you via email and now you can send it to the Document Center without scanning. CLICK HERE for instructions on how this works.
  2. Start using the Dentrix Questionnaire module for all in-house forms, including health history updates, all treatment consent forms, financial arrangement forms and updates to your HIPAA acknowledgement. You can use the Questionnaire Module without adding any expense for electronic services … all you will need is a signature pad. You can print out your consent forms and have them laminated so the patient can read them in a paper form. After that, have the patient sign in the Questionnaire or just pull the form up on your monitor for him or her to read. It is so easy. CLICK HERE to learn how to create a new form.

Give your team a break . . . give your scanner a break and save time. Use this time to do more productive things like fill your schedule and improve your collections.