Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2014 New Years Resolution - clean up your database

Is your New Year’s Resolution for 2014 to clean up your Dentrix Database? Do you find that you have duplicate insurance plans taking over your system? Do you have several unnecessary or duplicate medical alerts that have nothing to do with caring for a dental patient or you have maxed out your 64 limit and you need to find a way to create some space? My focus on the next few blog posts will be to help you straighten things out a bit.

I am going to first teach you how to clean up those unnecessary or duplicate Medical Alerts. Changing or deleting Medical Alerts can be a little tricky because the alert could be assigned to a patient. If you don’t detach it from the patient before you edit it, you will have a much bigger problem on your hands. If you want to edit your Medical Alert list, here is what you have to do.

First, you need to do a search of your patient base to see if the Medical Alert is attached to someone before you edit or delete it. Go to the Office Manager > Letters > MISC > Patient Reports by Filters > Edit > open up the Medical Alerts search and highlight the specific one you want to search for. Click OK, then click on Create Merge and select Create Data File only. This will just give you a list of patient names without merging the information into a letter. Now you can go into these patients accounts and de-select the Medical Alert you want to edit or delete.

After you have done a search for all the Medical Alerts you want to clean up, go to the Office Manager > Maintenance > Practice Setup > Definitions. In the dropdown menu, select Medial Alerts and it will bring up your list. If you want to edit one of them, just highlight it and change the name then click on the Change button on the right. This will change the definition for anyone who had that Medical Alert assigned to him or her. If you want to delete the Medical Alert, you will need to highlight the alert. Click on the Delete button, then you will need to select a replacement from the list. This is why it was extremely important to do the search for anyone attached to that alert before you make these definition changes.

If you are using the Questionnaire Module for your patient forms and you have the Medical Alerts information as one of your fields that can be merged, it will update your Questionnaire form automatically after you click on the Close button when you are finished. Hope this helps!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Don't let your senior citizen patients hold you back

When I was looking at transitioning my first office from paper charts to digital (of course it was the office I was working at) the one thing that concerned me the most was the reaction of my patients.  How would my patients take to filling out their forms from home on a computer or confirming their appointments from their mobile phones?   My office is on an island with a large population of retired and elderly people and 32% of our patient base was over the age of 61 at the time I started the transition.  I look back now and wonder what I was so worried about.  In fact, according to a April 2012 study by Pew Research Group 53% of people over the age of 65 use the internet or email, and of those who are using the internet, 82% say they use it on a daily basis.  Also, seven out of 10 people in this age group own a cell phone, which is up 57% from 2010. Even with my office being well below the national average we are having extreme success with electronic forms and correspondence.  Continue Reading . . .

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

The end of the year is upon us

This time of year I usually get the same questions and concerns about the Year End, and my answer is always the same . . . it is just like running a Month End.  Whatever your routine is for running a Month End; either using the Month End Update or the Month End Wizard (both located on the Ledger), the steps are exactly the same.   Now there may be some reports that you may run that could be different from your Month End routine because we all like to know how we ended the year.  Here are some examples:

·         Analysis Summary Report – This report can give you a detailed summary of Production, Collections and adjustments for each provider.  Just select 01/01/2013 through 12/31/2013 as your date range (I always select procedure date). 

·         Production Summary Report – This might be a good one because it can show you year to date totals for specific categories in Production or Collection and you could also filter it by procedure code.  If you want to see how many dental implants you placed or how many quads of scaling you did for the year this report can give you that information.

·         Adjustment Summary Report – Now the doctors probably don’t want to see these totals but it is reality and this is a good way to see where they are writing off money. 

·         Referral Reports – This would be a good report to see where your marketing dollars for 2014 might be well spent.  This will show you how patients are being referred and if you should focus more on the newspaper or the next Valpak ad.  My opinion however, is internal marketing! 

You may also be asked from patients to send a ledger history for tax purposes.  This can be printed from the ledger by clicking on Print > Patient Ledger (or Family Ledger) > click on the beginning date 1/1/2013

If you want more information on Year End the Dentrix Resource Center is a great place to look.  There is great information in the Knowledge Base article #49812. Here you can click on a Dentrix Year End Webinar.

Also remember . . . always have a current backup that is free of any errors before you run Month End. 

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Three reasons you should be using Dentrix Mobile

Sometimes I feel like I am consumed by my mobile phone because it is with me 24/7. My mobile device, however, also brings my world together. It allows me to connect with my friends and family, share pictures with the world, and lets me surf and shop for just about anything. So how can your mobile phone help you in your dental practice? Here are three reasons your office should be using Dentrix Mobile.
  1. Storms, power outages, and theft can happen at any moment. If you don’t have a disaster plan in place at your office, you are not only dead in the water but you are violating a major part of the HIPAA Security Rule. The HIPAA Security Rule states that we must have a disaster plan documented. In my office, having immediate access to my patient’s information is part of that plan. If our office is closed and I have lost access to my office computers, the most efficient and immediate way for me to contact my patients is through Dentrix Mobile.
  2. If your office performs surgical procedures, I would highly recommend someone following up with those surgical patients in the early evening. You want to make sure they are following your post-op instruction protocol as written so they do not have any complications to the procedures. You can also see if they are having any reactions to any medications you have prescribed. This is also a great marketing tool. It doesn’t take very long to make this phone call and the rewards can be tremendous. With Dentrix Mobile, you can view your appointment book and have access to patient information so you can easily see the patients who need a follow-up call.
  3. In every area of the country, you will have patients who will randomly call the on-call phone number seeking out drugs. Your doctor will inevitably get an after-hours phone call from someone making up a story that they were just in and having pain and could the doctor please phone in a prescription for Vicodin to the pharmacy. If the doctor is using Dentrix Mobile, he or she has immediate access to see if the patient is truly a patient of the office, the last appointment date, and the patient’s prescription history. This will save the doctor a trip into the office and the patient will have an answer quickly.

Our mobile devices can sometimes consume our lives, but they can also free up our lives if we use apps and programs appropriately. Dentrix Mobile is one program that every doctor and dental office with Dentrix software needs to bookmark on their homepage. For more information on how you can get setup with Dentrix Mobile, CLICK HERE.

Monday, December 2, 2013

The most read blogs for the year . . . Enjoy!

If you are new to my blog I wanted to give you a good place to start and if you have been a loyal reader of mine since the beginning here are your favorites.  As I conclude my second full year writing the Dentrix Office Manager Blog, this is a year-end wrapup of the Top 10 most read blogs since I began writing in this space. Here are the topics that you, my loyal readers, have read the most, along with snippets of each blog.
  1. Fee Schedules . . . The Method of Choice for PPO Plans     As I said in my last post, using Dentrix’s Fee Schedules takes a little bit of management but produces huge benefits! I am amazed at how many offices don’t know this Dentrix feature exists for setting up and managing fee schedules. If you are in one of those offices, it’s time to find it and use it – you’ll be so glad you did. Let’s walk through it together so that you can start seeing those benefits sooner than later.   Click here to read more . . .
  2. Fee Schedules or Write Offs . . . That is the Question  This is the hot topic in my home state of Washington since our largest dental insurance company recently slashed our filed fees by 15% or more on June 15th.  Several offices I work with have called me asking for advice on how to deal with it now that even the non-PPO plans are working under a much lower fee schedule.  Before I give my two cents I want you to understand the differences between using a fee schedule and using adjustments.  Click here to read more . . .
  3. The 5 Minute Morning Huddle  Does this sound familiar? You walk into the office in the morning, say “good morning” to all your team mates and put your lunch in the fridge. The hygienists are busy sharpening their instruments for a day of root planing and scaling, the doctor is in the lab finishing up that nightguard that is due at 8:00am and the dental assistants are setting up trays for the day making sure all the lab cases are in.  Click here to read more . .
  4. The New Patient Experience . . . the initial telephone call You know that old saying: “You never have a second chance to make a first impression”? Well that old saying still means a lot in this day when exceptional customer service is so hard to find. How your front office team handles the very first phone call from a new patient not only establishes the patient’s perception of how his or her visit will go, it even impacts the likelihood that they will refer their friends and family. Click here to read more . . .
  5. Become super efficient with templates In my most recent article, “The three core components when transitioning to electronic health records,” I talked a lot about efficiency and consistency. For all the Dentrix users, I want to give you some help when it comes to building templates, which can be a huge time-saver in your office. Here are some of my favorite template tips. Click here to read more . . .
  6. A Little Known Secret If you are transitioning from paper to paperless, do you find that you are scanning paper all the time? Does the paper pile up in the “to be scanned” box and sit there, just waiting for someone to have free time to take care of it? When I work with offices on their paper storage management, I am surprised by how many offices don’t know about the “Send to Dentrix Document Center” feature. I actually received two e-mails about it this week so I thought I would “shout it out” to all of you. Click here to read more . . .
  7. The 5 Stats Every Office Should Monitor When I say “monitor,” I don’t mean you write the numbers down on your spreadsheet, stick it in the 3-ring binder, and forget about it. I mean you are writing it down, discussing it with your doctor, talking about it with your team, and coming up with strategies as a team to improve it or high-fiving each other because you are exceeding your expectations. Numbers tell a story. The numbers help you reinvent systems, protocols, and campaigns. Click here to read more . . .
  8. Don’t Let Unused Insurance Benefits go to Waste September is the perfect time to send out a reminder to your patients who have unused dental insurance benefits. Sending it out now will hopefully get patients to call in sooner instead of waiting until the middle of December when it gets down to crunch time on the calendar. There are two different methods I am going to talk about today: using your Dentrix software to create a mass merge letter and, for those of you using DemandForce, how to merge a list and send out an e-mail campaign. Click here to read more . . .
  9. At Some Point We Need to Let the Patient Go Recently, I was in an office doing some training on the Practice Advisor Report and we were talking about the “Active Patient” count and how Dentrix comes up with that number. I informed them that, with the Practice Advisor Report, you determine the definition of an “active patient” using the amount of time it has been since the patient was in last for an appointment. This led to a new discussion of what was their protocol for patients who haven’t been in for 18, 24, or even 60 months? We ran a search of patients with a last visit date of more than five years ago and the list had more than 700 patients on it. They were shocked! Click here to read more . . .
  10. Holes in your Doctor’s Schedule? What do you do when, during a patient’s continuing care appointment, the doctor diagnoses a tooth that needs a crown and the patient leaves without scheduling it? Have you ever wondered how much unscheduled treatment you have on your books, and how your team is following up on it? Looking for some new ways to reach out to your patients? Click here to read more . . .

If you have a topic that you would like me to write about, or a dilemma you wish you could solve in your practice, drop me a line at Dayna@raedentalmanagement.com.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thank you for your trust . . .

As we gather with friends and family today to celebrate Thanksgiving, I wanted to take a moment to thank you for your trust in me as a consultant and resource. I never take your trust for granted and, today, when we think about the things that we are thankful for, I want you to know that I am thankful for you.

Enjoy the turkey, stuffing, and delicious pies. I'll be doing the same today before heading to the Greater New York Dental Meeting to learn more things that I can share with you to help your practice grow and prosper.

Have a blessed and wonderful Thanksgiving…

Monday, November 25, 2013

Supernumerary teeth . . . video demonstration

Our patients walk in with some unusual situations, but one of the more common situations I see is an extra tooth or Supernumerary Tooth.  Do you know how to chart it?  How would you bill it to insurance?  Watch today's video and find out . . .

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Send letters that make an impact

If you have been reading my blog for a while, you have seen my posts about sending an end of the year insurance letter to patients or a customized welcome letter to your new patients, but I don’t think I have ever helped you with how to create these customized letters. There are two ways in Dentrix you can create a customized, personal letter to your patients … Quick Letters or Letter Merge.

Both the Quick Letters and the Letter Merge letters are stored in the same location on your server so if you want to create a new letter, you need to know where to save your letter. Go to Office Manager > Maintenance > Practice Setup > Preferences, then click on the Paths tab. Find the location of the Letter Template Path. This is where all merge letters are located and where you need to save any new letters. Now that you have this folder location, let’s create a new letter. Open Microsoft Word and create a new blank document. Next, click on Open Existing Document, point to that folder location, locate document DXTLM99.doc, and open it. This document holds all the merge fields that are available to use within a Dentrix Quick Letter or Letter Merge. Now you can type up your letter and copy/paste these merge fields into your letter at the appropriate places so it will pull patient information into your letter. When you save your new letter, it can only contain 7 characters in the name and must be saved in that Letter Template folder I mentioned earlier. Your letter is now ready to be added to the Quick Letters list, the Letter Merge list, or both. 

The Quick Letter icon is on all Dentrix modules and is used to send a letter to one patient. It is great for collection letters, referrals to specialists, updating patient information, or a thank you letter. If you open the Quick Letters, you will find several letters that already come with your Dentrix software. If you want to look at the letter and edit it, highlight the letter in the list and click on Open Template. This will open the letter template in Microsoft Word where you can edit the text of the document. If you want to add a new letter to the list, click New and enter the description of the letter in the first box and the document name in the Merge Letter Template fields (this is the 7-character name plus the extension). You are ready to use your new letter.

The Letter Merge is used for sending a mass mailing to a group of patients. This feature is located on the Office Manager under the Letters tab. There are several categories and letters from which you can choose and you can edit these letters or add your own. If you want to edit an existing letter, select the category then highlight the letter and click Edit. A new window will open where you would select the parameters for the merge. Today, however, we are just talking about editing and adding the letters so click on Open Template. This will open the letter template in Microsoft Word where you can edit the document text or change the merge fields. Once you are done editing, exit and say yes to save. If you want to create a completely new letter, make sure you have already created your letter with the instructions above and click on New from within the Category your letter should be stored. From this window, you will need to add the Letter Name (this is a description of the letter), the Merge Data File Name (this is your 7 character name with .out file extension), and the Merge Letter Template (this is the 7 character name and file extension), then click on the Data Fields tab. You need to have a check in each field that is represented in your new letter so it will merge properly.
Whether you are using the Quick Letters feature or the Letter Merge for a mass mailing, it is important to remember that after you have printed the letters to send and you click exit, always say “No” to save. Otherwise, you will write over your merge fields and your next letter merge will not work.

If you want to read some of my other blog posts related to letter merge, check these out:
Unscheduled Treatment . . . the urgency is now!
Don't let unused benefits go to waste
The New Patient Experience . . . welcome letter


Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Better treatment plan acceptance . . . Better payment integration . . . Better Together

When you are looking for ways to improve the systems in the office, you are looking for better efficiency, more consistency, and more effectiveness because you need to see results.I use all of the Dentrix eServices because they excel in all of these areas. My team runs a very tight ship because everything revolves around the practice management software; nothing is jimmy-rigged together. This is why I am very excited about this announcement from Dentrix and its new integration with Citi Health Card patient financing.

We have been offering Citi Health Card and CareCredit for patient financing, but it is one of our office’s systems that isn’t as streamlined and efficient as I want it to be. This new integration with Dentrix and Citi Health Card is exactly what our office needs.



Convincing patients of the need for treatment can be only half the battle. Often, the next common obstacle to obtaining treatment plan acceptance is the guarantor’s ability to pay for the treatment. Fortunately for Dentrix users, providing patient financing just got easier so more patients can say "yes" to treatment.
The Citi Health Card, with a proven history of helping providers improve treatment plan acceptance, is now integrated with Dentrix to simplify the application process, streamline payment posting and make patient financing more affordable for patients and providers.
Now when a patient requires financing, the application can be submitted with less effort, as many of the fields are prepopulated with information from Dentrix. Within minutes—or even seconds—of submitting a completed form, an electronic response tells you if the patient is approved and reports the patient’s approved credit limit, allowing you to complete the treatment plan proposal and begin scheduling.
Another benefit of the integration is automatic payment posting to the Dentrix Ledger. The charges for the treatment, up to the amount of the approved credit, can be applied to the patient account with the click of a button, eliminating manual entry and the possibility of keypunch errors.

Best of all, the Citi Health Card program provides the most flexible and affordable patient financing available. You can offer no-interest options for six, 12, 18 and 24 months or budget payment plans that fit nearly any income. And since Citi Health Card merchant fees are lower compared to industry averages , patient financing won’t compromise your practice’s profitability.

CLICK HERE to learn more about Citi Health Card and the new integration with Dentrix.


Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Throw a party with those unclaimed credit balances . . . not so fast

There is so much going on in the dental office in the fall. In September, I got my letter off to all my patients who have a treatment plan and still have unused insurance benefits. Did you? If not, CLICK HERE to point you in the right direction. This month, we have already started looking ahead to 2014 and planning out our office goals (CLICK HERE for more information on goal setting in Dentrix). Then, just this week, I sent off my annual check to the Department of Revenue for those credit balances for patients I cannot locate. What? You don’t know what the heck I am talking about? Every state has a law regarding what to do with unclaimed money. Check your state’s Department of Revenue website to find out the steps to take in order to be compliant with this rule. Since I live in Washington state, I am going to use that state’s information for today’s blog.

Let’s start from the beginning. Each July, I print a credit balance only Aging Report (this is the only time I ever print an Aging Report). The best policy is to take care of patient credit balances when they happen by applying them to the next visit, encouraging the patient to schedule treatment, or writing the patient a refund check. However, there are times when patients end up with a credit balance and you have attempted to reach them without success. In the state of Washington, these patients must receive a letter of due diligence by August 1. I created this letter in Quick Letters so it would merge in the patient’s information and balance.

After you have sent the patient a letter informing him or her of the credit balance and the date by which it needs to be collected, go through your credit balance report again and mark any patient you are going to send to the Department of Revenue, then total it up and write one hopefully not too big check. On each patient ledger, make an adjustment (I created an adjustment type called Sent to Dept of Revenue) to their account to bring their account to zero, change their billing type (I created one called Sent to Department of Revenue), then make sure their account is inactivated or archived. I created a billing type to get a report on all the accounts I have sent to the Department of Revenue and I don’t have to remember all the names.

This check to the Department of Revenue must be sent in by November 1 (state of Washington requirement). I adjust all the patient accounts on the same day, then run an Adjustment Only Daysheet to get the list of names. Next, I print a Patient List for each patient individually to send with the check. This will give the Department of Revenue the information needed to put on their unclaimed property website. To print this Patient List, go to the Office Manager > Lists > Patient List > then select each patient individually.

For those of you reading from the state of Washington, go to http://ucp.dor.wa.gov and click on “You are holding unclaimed property, report it to us.” Then click on the Detail Report form, fill out the information, total amount you are sending, and print the form. If you are reading from another state, I would search for Unclaimed Property (state name here).

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

The happy dental hygienist

Do you have a dental hygienist in your practice who navigates through the mouth as she perio charts in a different way than the default?  Would you like to create a perio script that only spot probes for those 6 week checks after SRP?  Then this video is for you.  Watch and learn . . .

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Don't just send it and forget it

I hope you have enjoyed reading all my good tips and tricks on dental insurance over the past few weeks. Insurance is such big issue in most dental practices that I feel it is worth talking about … even if it is not the most exciting topic. There is another piece of managing dental insurance that I want to discuss today and that is managing your pre-estimates. I don’t know if it is because of the economy or if insurance companies are mandating preauthorization’s more these days, but I am noticing more and more offices sending in pre-estimates for treatment. Many of you already know how to send out a pre-estimate for treatment … but don’t just stop there and think that you are finished. Here’s a checklist for better managing your patients’ dental pre-estimates.
  • Create and send the pre-estimate claim form from the patient’s ledger. From the ledger, click on the Treatment Plan page by selecting Options > Treatment Plan. You can define the color of this page so it’s not confused with the actual ledger page. To change the color of this page, go to File > Ledger Colors Setup > then choose your personal color scheme. Once you are on the Treatment Plan page, if the patient has treatment planned procedures on this page, you can simply select the line items and click on the insurance icon to batch the pre-estimate. If there are no treatment planned procedures you can add them from this page by clicking on Transaction > Enter Procedure.  Now you can attach any electronic X-ray or image and also document the clinical narrative in the Remarks for Unusual Service box and this pre-estimate is ready to go out with your next batch of eClaims.

  • Just like you would follow up on unpaid insurance claims, I would suggest checking on unprocessed pre-estimates exactly the same way. Go to your Office Manager > Reports > Ledger > Pre-Treatment Estimate Aging Report. Filling your doctor’s schedule might depend on making sure these pre-estimates are being received in a timely manner. (insert image)

  • When the Pre-Treatment EOB is sent to your office showing the itemized approval of the procedures, you will want to enter the pre-estimate just like you would a payment on an actual claim. Go to the Ledger > Options > Treatment Plan to switch to the Treatment Plan page (or you can click on the TX icon on the toolbar). Double-click on the claim form and click on Enter Estimate. Now you can itemize each procedure and what the insurance company is going to pay on each line item and document the reference number for this pre-estimate. It is important to receive your pre-estimates just like an actual claim because it will give you a more accurate out-of-pocket for your patient. Remember, it clears it off the aging report and closes it on the ledger.

  • If you have finished this last step, the patient has completed the treatment, and you are now creating an actual insurance claim, it will automatically insert the Pre-Treatment Estimate reference number onto the actual claim so you don’t have to look it up. Pretty slick, huh?

I hope this little nugget of information will help you better manage your patient’s treatment plans and pre-treatment estimates and keep your doctor’s schedule full and productive.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

For the insurance bulldog in the office

Being a Financial Coordinator in a dental practice is a huge responsibility. It requires you to wear many hats including collection call expert, insurance bulldog, treatment plan closer, and bonus plan motivator. What I love about Dentrix is that you can manage all these responsibilities within your practice management software. However, the one task that I see get pushed to the side the most is managing the insurance money.  

Many offices reach out to me, asking me to help them use Dentrix to its fullest potential … and one of the reports I always check during my assessment is the Insurance Aging Report. This report is one of the best tools available for you to check on past due insurance claims and it should be part of your regular weekly management routine. The only unfortunate thing about this report is that you have to print it … and you know how I feel about paper reports (yuk!).

Here are some best practice tips for you to streamline the process of working this report:
  • If the patient has dual insurance and the primary pays in full, make sure you create the secondary and then pay it off with a $0 payment immediately. This will ensure that the secondary claim doesn’t sit on your Insurance Aging Report as an open claim.
  • When you need to check on a past due claim, make sure you are documenting all information or phone conversations in the claim status note box. These notes will print on your Insurance Aging Report for easy follow-up. (image here)
  • If an insurance payment was sent to the patient, make sure you apply a $0 payment on the claim to close it out and make a note in the claim status notes box.
  • If you are using the eCentral Insurance Eligibility feature, you also have access to electronic claim status and the archive of your transmission reports. When you have a DCN (Document Control Number) from the insurance company that they have received the claim, copy and paste this number in the claim status notes. This way, when you are calling on a past due claim, you have that DCN ready and this could prevent you from having to resubmit the claim.

Click below for more blog posts related to the Financial Coordinator’s job description:
Show Me the Money!
Holes in your doctors schedule?
Resubmitting a partial EOB . . . no problem!


Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Five tips on proper coding to insurance

Last week, I attended one of my favorite conferences of the year … the American Association of Dental Office Managers (AADOM) annual meeting. This conference is built specifically for office managers and is chock full of course for practice management, leadership, HR, technology, and personal growth. There were more than 600 attendees and the vendor booths spilled out into the hall.

One of the courses I attended was Dr. Charles Blair’s coding class, “Stay out of Jail – Avoid Coding Errors and Excel in Insurance Administration.” Go back to last week’s blog post and you can watch my video interview with Dr. Blair. Today, I want to give you the top five “pearls” I took away from his class.
  1. Code what you do – Even if you know the insurance company is going to downgrade to a lower procedure code, make sure you are billing the insurance company the procedure that you provide to the patient. Your clinical notes and the billing should match.
  2. Biopsy – Bill out the biopsy procedure at the time you receive the report back from the lab, not at the time you take the biopsy.
  3. Crowns prep or seat date? – If you are in-network, you must go by their rules. If you are out of network, you can bill by your rules. Double-check with your insurance contracts. If you can bill at the prep date, then do it. I have always billed crowns out at the prep date (we are out of network for all insurance companies) because this is when we incur the majority of our costs and this is also when I want the patient to pay.
  4. Bill D1110 based on dentition not age – We all know that insurance companies will not pay for an adult prophy until the age of 14, but what if your 11-year-old patient has full dentition? According to Dr. Blair, you would bill out the adult prophy and let the insurance company downgrade it.
  5. D0180 … not just for the periodontist – Many general dentists do not use this code because they believe it can only be used at a specialist office, but this is not so. Your office can use this code for any patient who has risk factors (smoker, diabetic, etc.) and possibly get paid a higher fee. You must also justify using this code with a perio chart.

Dr. Blair is an expert in coding and has many resources from which your office can benefit. My favorite is the Insurance Solutions Newsletter. For more information, visit his website by CLICKING HERE.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Tips on avoiding administrative errors in the dental practice

I have just returned from the American Association of Dental Office Managers (AADOM) annual meeting in Orlando, Fla. It was a great few days filled with friends and timely information. If your dental office manager isn't a member of AADOM, you really should check out everything this great association has to offer. You find out more information about AADOM by clicking here.

While I was in Orlando, I had the chance to catch up with Dr. Charles Blair, who is an expert in coding for the dental practice. We chatted about the recent coding changes and what dental practices can expect in 2014. We also talked about ways that dental practices can do some simple things to avoid some very common errors. Click below to watch my video interview with Dr. Blair. 

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Unscheduled treatment . . . the urgency is now.

Do you find no matter how many follow up phone calls you make to patients reminding them they still have that crown to do on #31 they still wait until it is urgent?  Well that urgency is right around the corner . . . end of the year unused insurance benefits.  Now is a great time to send out a special reminder to patients whose insurance plan benefits are going to expire at the end of December.  Use them or lose them! 

Even though I make several follow up phone calls from the Treatment Manger Report and document in the Office Journal my conversations with my patients, there is something to be said when a patient receives a letter in the mail.  They know it is important.   Dentrix makes it super easy to search out patients with unscheduled treatment with remaining insurance benefits using the Letter Merge feature. 

From the Office Manager, go to Letters > misc > Treatment Plan Reminder > Edit > then select the parameters for your search.  Click on the >> next to the ‘Dental Insurance’ to open the options for insurance, then click the >> next to the ‘Procedures,’ put a check mark next to  ‘Treatment Plan,’ and select the date range you want.  These selections will help you generate a group of patients who have a treatment plan with remaining insurance benefits. 

 If you want to customize the Treatment Plan Letter (dtxlm21) you can click on ‘open template’ and make any changes you want and then say “yes” to save.  (Remember, however, that when you create a merge, you must always say “no” to save after you are done printing.)

By sending out the reminder letter now, we can help avoid the situation of patients waiting until the last minute to see if they can get squeezed in before the clock strikes midnight on the 31st of December.



Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Ready to see what financial security should be?

Dr. Don Lewis, Jr. DDS, CFE 
Recently I interviewed my friend Dr. Don Lewis at the Business of Dentistry conference and he shared some exciting information about his application that integrates with Dentrix G5.  It is amazing!  I believe it can help your practice.  Today, Dr. Don Lewis shares some questions and answers that will give you some insight into this product.

Donald P. Lewis, Jr., DDS, CFE is a Diplomate of the American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery (AAOMS) and is currently in private practice as a leading oral and maxillofacial surgeon in Cleveland, Ohio.

Q.  What have you learned from developing Practice SafeGuard?

A.   I suffered a major financial loss from embezzlement in the 90s. It was personally devastating and there was a huge gap in the resources I had to fight my case. I became a CFE and began lecturing to thousands of dentists who had the same fears and nowhere to go. Earlier this year I lectured in a room of 200+ dentists and polled the audience - literally 72% of them thought they were victims of fraud. With my team, I've finally been able to develop an amazing solution. We've found scary amounts of potential loss, in the MILLIONS, in our few Early Adopter practices. This is unacceptable in any business. The most fascinating thing we've learned is, doctors can lose as much or more to entry errors as fraud. We know mistakes are not crime, and we don't want to scare people with our message, but the losses are real, and they are preventable. With Practice SafeGuard, my case would have been open and shut. We're so excited to see what Practice SafeGuard can do for every doctor battling unacceptable losses.

Q.  How does Practice SafeGuard work?
A.  It installs in a few minutes and begins analyzing the Dentrix G5 Ledger history. Then, it alerts you to extreme and unusual transactions, and shows you behavior patterns and business metrics in a practice performance dashboard. You can get alerts in up to 3 inboxes on any device you carry, which makes it very easy to respond and resolve issues instantly. It's really just a few minutes a day once you get going. When you can respond instantly, you feel more in control of your financial flow. Best of all, getting a call about a transaction they entered minutes ago means that your staff is very aware of your involvement, which drastically cuts down on the opportunity for crime or negligence. We call it "creating the perception of protection". Practice SafeGuard is the only thing that does it automatically, and Dentrix G5 is the first platform to offer it.
Q.  What are the top 3 reasons for G5 users to install it?
A.  Beyond the obvious benefits of any web tool, the value for G5 users is very simple: This is the best possible kind of financial control. It's fast to ramp up, it ensures that your current sunk costs (Dentrix, staff, audit teams, trainers) actually cost you less, because they're all more accurate, and it provides detailed transaction documentation that doctors can't get anywhere else. It's peace of mind for a few bucks a month and seconds a day.


Thursday, August 29, 2013

Top 9 blog posts for going Paperless

  1. Where do I make all my notes – Parts 1-4    Is your office transitioning from paper charts to electronic health records?  Do you feel like everyone in your office makes notes in totally random places in Dentrix and you can never find anything?  Do you wish there was more consistency in your office?  If you answered “yes” to any of the above, read on for some advice that can help you put your notes in order.      Read more . . .                   
  2. A Little Known Secret    If you are transitioning from paper to paperless, do you find that you are scanning paper all the time? Does the paper pile up in the “to be scanned” box and sit there, just waiting for someone to have free time to take care of it? When I work with offices on their paper storage management, I am surprised by how many offices don’t know about the “Send to Dentrix Document Center” feature. I actually received two e-mails about it this week so I thought I would “shout it out” to all of you.    Read more . . .                                      
  3. Expand your Digital Future   I was honored to speak at the AADOM (American Association of Dental Office Managers) annual meeting in Scottsdale over the weekend. For those of you who could not attend, I encourage you to make the trip to next year’s meeting in Orlando, Fla. For more information on AADOM, click here.   This year, my topic was Expand your Digital Future with Dentrix eServices.” In case you missed it, here is a recap.  Today’s dental practices are looking for ways to replace their paper records and forms with digital records and electronic communications, streamline their workflow, reduce waste and clutter, increase productivity, and improve profitability. How can Dentrix eServices help you with this?  Read more . . .          
  4. New Hightech Postcard  For those of you who are still getting to know me, I am a huge supporter and fan of all Dentrix Electronic Services. I use all of the Dentrix eServices in my dental practice and I have helped successfully implement them into my clients’ practices. So when Dentrix announces an upgrade to its eCentral and DX Mobile services, I get excited!  Read more . . .          
  5. Where do I make all my notes . . . Clinical parts 1-3   For those of you who read the previous series titled “Where do I make all my notes,” I hope that you have implemented some of the suggestions and have found that your notes are easier to find. I also hope everyone on your team now has a more clear understanding of where to make their notes so the information you want find is easily retrievable. In these next few posts, I will focus on the best places in your Dentrix software to make clinical documentation. This article will give your office some guidelines and recommendations on where to document the clinical information that is critical when treating a patient.   Read more . . .          
  6. Become super efficient with templates    In my most recent article in DentistryIQ.com, “The three core components when transitioning to electronic health records,” I talked a lot about efficiency and consistency. For all the Dentrix users, I want to give you some help when it comes to building templates, which can be a huge time-saver in your office. Here are some of my favorite template tips.  Read more . . .         
  7. Stop all that clicking    In my last blog “Become Super Efficient with Templates,” I mentioned how to make your procedure buttons on the patient chart “super-efficient” by attaching a multi-code to a button. Later, I realized that multi-codes are a great template system that can be used all throughout Dentrix for the entire team, not just in the patient chart. I love multi-codes. In fact, at my office, since the system only allows 8 procedure codes within a multi-code, I have some with multi-codes inside of multi-codes where it will treatment plan 12 procedure codes with the click of one button.    Read more . . .          
  8. Creating electronic forms . . . how-to video   When you are ready to go down the Path to Paperless one of the Dentrix modules you will want to become very familiar with is the Questionnaire Module.  This module will turn your ordinary paper forms into electronic forms that can be linked to your website, iPad, tablet or kiosk workstation.  This video will take you though a demonstration on how to create a new form.  Enjoy!   Read more . . .          
  9. A Lifeline to your patient information    Doctor, picture this scenario . . . You’ve just teed off on the second hole of your favorite golf course on a beautiful Saturday morning. Shortly after sending the ball 250 yards down the middle, you receive a phone call from the guy you opened up #31 on last week and he is now asking for a refill on his pain med. What would you do?  Read more . . .          

Monday, August 26, 2013

Keep tight reins on your referred patients

Keeping track of all the details of our patients' care can be a daunting task if you dont have a system in place. One of the most important pieces of our patient care that we need to follow happens when we are referring our patient out of our office for treatment by another provider. How do you know if the treatment has been completed? How do you easily find to whom you referred them? What is the best way to follow up?

When you follow the path below, no details will be left out and everyone will be on the same page. Lets walk through the steps from start to finish.

We will pretend that your practice is a general practice and you have a new patient come in with an existing missing tooth that needs replacement. For the sake of this demonstration, we are going to skip through to the treatment planning portion of the exam.

First, treatment plan all the procedures the patient will need to complete the treatment, including all procedures that will be referred to the specialist. Now follow along with the image, double click on the procedure code to be referred out.

  1. Click on the double arrows next to the Related Referral
  2. Select the doctor from the list and click OK
  3. As soon as you click OK, the computer will remove the fee from this procedure
  4. Now you will see a R> next to the procedure code so you know it has been referred out. When your front desk prints a treatment plan estimate for the patient, this procedure will print on the estimate with a 0 fee. You could also put a note on the procedure code if you want more explanation as to why this procedure is being referred out. When you add a referral to the procedure code in the Patient Chart, it will automatically update the Family File and also print on the Patient Route Slip.

If the patient walks out without scheduling, then it is up to you to follow up and track his or her progress. There are two reports to mention here: the Referred To Report and the Treatment Manager Report. For information on the Treatment Manager Report, go back to blog post "Holes in your doctors schedule?" The Referred To report will give you a list of your patients who have been referred out for treatment as long as you have completed the steps above. Go to the Office Manager > Reports > Management > Referred To Report. I suggest running this monthly.

When you have received confirmation that the treatment has been completed, all you have to do is select the procedure code in the list of treatment planned procedures in the Progress Notes tab on the Patient Chart and click the blue checkmark to set complete. This will mark the procedure complete as Existing Other because it was done at another office and removes it from the treatment plan list.

Follow these easy steps and you will never again lose patients through the cracks. One thing I love about computer documentation is there is always a way to track things.