Friday, June 28, 2013

Three unique and inviting tips for new patients

In the article I posted last week on, "three best practice management tips for the new dental patient" , I talked about three practice management ideas for a unique and inviting new patient experience. For Dentrix users, I would like to take this opportunity to point you in the direction of implementing these three tips into your Dentrix software.

First, I mentioned that I am a huge fan of “mapping” out the schedule and setting aside special spots just for new patients. This gives your team a good visual aide so they know exactly where to schedule a new patient that will fit best into the practice's day. To set up these special spots just for new patients, I am going to point you to the Provider Setup on your appointment book.  From the Appointment Book go to > Setup > Provider Setup > select a provider ID (it really doesn’t matter which one you pick), then click on Setup. You should have a new window open up and there is a box for Set Time Blocks. If you click on Add, then you will have another window open where you can set up the parameters for your New Patient blocks. After you have entered in the pertinent information and click OK, back out to the appointment book and you will see colored outlines in your appointment book. If you want to read more about Time Blocks, read my blog titled “What if Every Day Could be a Perfect Day?”

Second, all my new patients receive a welcome letter. This is where I let the new patient know we are very happy he or she has chosen us for their dental needs, remind the new patient when his or her appointment is scheduled, and point the new patient to our website so he or she can fill out the forms electronically. If you are still using paper forms, I would include the new patient forms in this welcome letter and ask that the patient to bring them in at the first visit. To send out a Welcome letter in Dentrix, go to the Office Manager > Letters > Welcome > select Welcome before 1st visit, click edit. Select your parameters in the Appointment tab for the date range for which you are running the letters. Make sure you have “Prospective Patients with appointment in the date range” because your new patients do not yet have an open account. Click OK then Create Merge and it will create the letters in Microsoft Word. When you are finished printing, your letters do not save on exit.

Finally, during our new patient exams we perform many diagnostic procedures including oral cancer screening, nutritional counseling, TMJ screening, perio charting, muscle testing, and I/O photos ... and we do not bill for these because they are inclusive of other codes. However, we can create our own in-office codes for these things so they will show up as line items on the patient's billing statement at walk out. If you want to create your own in-office codes, go to the Office Manager > Maintenance > Practice Setup > Procedure Code Setup > click new and it will open up a blank procedure code box. The details you will need here is a Description (this is what will show up on the patient statement), ADA code (make up something that does not resemble a real ADA code), Abbv description, Category, Treatment Area set to mouth, then put a check mark in Do Not Bill Dental Insurance. Now the last piece might be to group these new codes together along with the D0150 Comp Exam and your X-rays into a multi code. A multi code will bill out multiple procedure codes together. If you want to create a multi code for your New Patient Exam go to the Office Manager > Maintenance > Practice Setup > Multi Code Setup. If you want to read more about multi code setup, read my blog titled “Stop All ThatClicking”.

I can definitely see some very satisfied new patients in your future and, don't forget, the happy ones always refer.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Three best practice management tips for the new dental patient

I have been in the dental industry for more than 20 years, and one thing I know is that every office is striving for more new patients. We hope these new, warm bodies will have dental needs that will keep doctors and hygienists busy and productive. But how do we attract new patients? I am by no means a marketing specialist, so to answer that question you would need to talk to my good friend Rita Zamora. However, once you get those new patients into your practice, here are my three best practice management tips to give them a unique and inviting experience.

Click here to read the rest of my article, including my tips, posted on

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Don't get caught without one . . . a HIPAA business agreement that is

We have been going through an ownership change in my dental practice. Because of that, I have had to provide the attorneys many, many reports so they could valuate the practice. All the reports that have been requested so far have been just numbers. However, one of the attorneys recently requested a full Aging Report. Being the HIPAA officer for the practice, I replied, “I will need a HIPAA Business Agreement before I can send this report to you.” Even though this report is being sent to an attorney (who I am sure has a great deal of knowledge when it comes to confidentiality), I must still have his company sign and send back a HIPAA Business Agreement because this report has PHI (Protected Health Information).

Yes, even attorneys who work with dentists on a regular basis do not remember to ask or offer a HIPAA Business Agreement to their clients. This is a requirement for any outside agency that may have access to your patients’ PHI. Any time your office works with an attorney, consultant, CPA, hardware tech, or collection agency that has access to patient information, you must have a signed HIPAA Business Agreement and keep it in your practice’s HIPAA manual.  Don’t get caught without one!
If you need a blank one that you can keep on hand and just edit with new information, I would be more than happy to send you one. Just e-mail me at and I will send it to you.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Resubmit a partial EOB . . . no problem

It’s Tuesday morning and you are just getting back to the office from a long weekend. Getting back into the swing of things, you go to the mailbox and retrieve the weekend mail and start catching up on your insurance payments. As you start posting your first EOB from Delta Dental, you notice that they paid for the exam and bitewings, but they need an updated perio chart before they will submit payment for the perio maintenance cleaning. What do you do?

a)      Apply the partial payment, closing out the claim and then printing an extra copy so you have something to refer back to because the original claim will not show up on your Insurance Aging Report.

b)      Resubmit the entire claim with the perio chart and hold the partial payment until you receive payment on the perio maintenance then post both checks together so the claim will still show up on your Insurance Aging Report.

c)       Put it off until later and call Dentrix support

d)      Split the claim into two parts, applying the partial payment to the exam and bitewings and leaving the perio maintenance open so it will show up on your Insurance Aging Report.

The correct answer is . . . d. If you don’t know how to split an insurance claim, follow along.

From the patient ledger, highlight the claim in question. Then, at the top of the ledger, click on the Insurance tab > Split Primary Claim. You will get a box that looks like this:

Now highlight the perio maintenance procedure and click on the down arrow to move it into the Claim #2 box. Click OK. You now have two separate insurance claims so you can pay off the claim for the exam and bitewings with the check you received today AND you have an open claim you can attach the perio chart to and it will still show up on your Insurance Aging Report for easy tracking.

The procedure can be done for other situations like rebilling the buildup, X-rays, or other procedure that requires a narrative.