Friday, January 24, 2014

Grow your practice and build relationships

So how are you all doing with your New Year’s Resolutions? The parking lot at my gym is already starting to dwindle down so I hope that all of you are staying on task and cleaning up your Dentrix database. I am going to change gears and start moving forward into 2014 with a look at your daily huddle.

Many offices I work with do not have a daily huddle or, if they do, they are just looking for schedule conflicts or wondering if the lab cases are back in. However, I think there is so much more to the daily huddle than just getting an update on your appointment book.

Let’s look at the Dentrix Daily Huddle Report because I want to point out my favorite feature for building relationships and growing your practice in 2014. Every day, I want you to look at the section containing the new patient referral statistics. In this section, you will see how many new patients you saw yesterday, how many are scheduled today, and a total number for the month. Dentrix counts a patient as a new patient if his or her first visit date is blank or filled in with today’s date.

Here’s an important point: Pay close attention to how a patient was referred to your practice. Look at the total number of new patients yesterday. If you had three new patients, you should have three referrals. Next, check the month-to-date numbers and make sure your total number of new patients matches your total number of referrals. This is an important observation everyday because you can print the Referred By report for your marketing person so he or she knows where to allocate funds for marketing and advertising. This is also important for the doctor to thank the patients who are referring to your office.

The Daily Huddle has many great tools for managing the goals of your practice. If you want to read more about the Daily Huddle report go to . . . Your Daily Motivation blog post.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

2014 New Year's Resolution - credit balance cleanup

My 2014 New Year’s Resolutions continue for all the office managers who are looking to clean up their databases. My last two blog posts were how to clean up duplicate insurance companies and duplicate or unused Medical Alerts. Check both of those articles out.

Today we are going to tackle the issue of allocating payments properly on the Ledger and fixing the provider credits. In Dentrix, you can apply payments to the patient and allocate the payment to the different providers. However, most practices do not split the payments accordingly and then the patient balances and the provider A/R is not accurate. To fix the patient’s ledgers can be bit of a project, but, if this is one of your 2014 New Year’s Resolutions, here is how you do it.

First, you need to tell the computer how you want to allocate the balances. Go to the Office Manager > Maintenance > Practice Setup > Preferences. Here are your default choices:
  1. Guarantor’s Provider – Generically assigns all payments as if they go to the Guarantor’s PROV1 choice in Family File, whether or not that provider did any work for the patient or family receiving the payment.
  2. Split Payment, Percentage – If the doctor did 75% of the work and the hygienist did 25% (based on production dollar value), the payment is divided into two payments, paying the providers 75/25. Not the best choice because insurance may later pay the same providers for those services, creating imbalances.
  3. Split Payment, FIFO – FIFO is “First In, First Out” and attempts to pay the oldest debt first, paying providers until money runs out. Not the best choice because insurance may later pay the same providers for those services, creating imbalances.
  4. Split Payment, Guarantor/Account Estimate – Generally regarded as the best choice. This uses FIFO but also considers if there are insurance estimates. Additionally, it only pays the portion expected to be owed by the patient.
  5. Split Payment, Equal Payments – If two providers did work for the patient, the money is split 50/50 between the two. Not the best choice because insurance may later pay the same providers for those services, creating imbalances.

My recommendation is #4 because this is the only one that will take into account the estimated insurance portion. Now you also must have two adjustment types that you will use to reapply the provider credit balance … one being a credit adjustment and one being a debit adjustment. If you need to create two new adjustment types, go to Office Manager > Maintenance > Practice Setup > Definitions. You might already have an adjustment type called “Transfer Balance Credit” and “Transfer Balance Debit.” These will work just fine.

Next, from the Ledger go to File > Pre-Payment Options Setup, then check Enable Allocate Balance Option and then select the adjustment types. Make sure the Itemize Allocation Adjustments for Billing Statements is not checked. This will ensure the adjustments will not show up on your patient’s billing statements.


The report you are going to start with is called The Provider Credits Report. Go to the Office Manager > Reports > Ledger > Aging Report and check Provider Credits. This will give you a report of all your providers who have a credit balance.

Finally, from the Ledger, you can start reallocating the balances properly. When you start correcting the balances, it is recommended to correct the patient balances first then allocate to the correct provider. So if you need to transfer a credit balance from one patient to another (or several), do this first. Select the patient > click on Transaction > Allocate Credit Balance, check either Family or Patient (in the long run, Patient will be more accurate), then select the allocation method (Guar Est is the most accurate) and click OK. This will apply adjustment on the patient ledger to correct the provider balances.

Remember, these adjustments will not show on the billing statement as long as you have not checked it in the Allocation setup in the above instructions.

If you want more information on keeping your ledger balances correct, please refer back to a previous blog post, “Are you a stickler for accurate numbers?”




Tuesday, January 7, 2014

2014 New Year's Resolution - database cleanup cont'

Has your office been using Dentrix for a long time or you just went through a conversion and you are finding that there are several duplicate insurance plans? This situation is very common and creates extreme inefficiency for your administrative team. Your team must search through a long list of insurance plans only to find three or four that all have the same group number … and then you don’t know which one is current. Let me show you how to clean this up.

First, from the Office Manager, go to Maintenance > Reference > Insurance Maintenance. Here you will see the entire list of all your insurance plans. This is where you will do your clean up. Highlight one of the insurance plans that is a duplicate and click on Ins Data so you can edit the name. In the screen shot below, I added the line “do not use.” This way I know which ones are not good and I am going to get rid of them.

Next, everyone must be out of Dentrix for this next step to happen. Everyone out? OK, let’s proceed. Click on the Join Plans button and select Plan to Plan at the top, then you will select the “not good” plan as the source plan to join with the “good” plan as the destination plan. This will move all the patients from one plan to another.

Finally, you can opt to now purge these insurance plans since they are not attached to any patients. Use caution here. If you do this and this plan was used for an insurance claim that was sent and paid, it will remove the Insurance Plan name from the claim and replace it with “Unknown.” What this means is that any insurance plan that is purged will also be removed from the Insurance Plan name field on any insurance claims in history. This can potentially be an issue if you want to look back and see what insurance plan was billed in the past for a patient who had an insurance plan that had been purged.

If you want to proceed with purging insurance plans, click on the Purge button in the Insurance Maintenance Screen and it will bring up a list of insurance plans that are no longer attached to any patients and can be safely deleted. Once you select the plans, you want click Delete or just click Delete All.

For an alternative to purging, you could add a “Z” to the beginning of the plans you no longer want to use so it will push them to the bottom of the list or you could add a “*” to the beginning and it will push them all to the top of the list. This might be a better choice so that it will not affect any insurance claims in history by removing the insurance plan name.

Refer to article#21976 in the Dentrix Knowledgebase for more step by step instructions.

21976: Deleting Duplicate Employers Or Insurance Plans