Monday, August 31, 2015

Two options to help you manage your accounts receivable

I recently created an online course called “Show me the Money,” which ties in perfectly to today’s article. As you may have figured out, my online course is all about accounts receivable. Managing your accounts receivable takes into account many factors, including the new patient phone call, treatment planning, follow up, and collection letters. One thing you can do to manage your accounts receivable is to create the appropriate payment plan when needed. There are two different types of payment plans in Dentrix that can help you with the management of your accounts receivable.

The Payment Agreement is one type of payment plan in Dentrix. Use this if patients have already completed their treatment and have an existing balance you want to extend for a period of time. Entering in the payment agreements into Dentrix will help you manage your accounts in three huge ways.

  1. If you have read my articles about patient collections, you know that I use the Collection Manager Report for managing accounts receivable. This report allows you to enter columns of information that will show you Payment Agreement Balance, Payment Agreement Amount Due, and # of missed payments. Having this information at your fingertips can be extremely helpful on this report because you don’t have to do any research about the account balance. You can see that the patient is on a payment plan and if he or she is current with payments. Read More . . . on the Collection Manager Report.
  2. When you create a Payment Agreement, it will light up the Payment Agreement Summary section on the Ledger so anyone who opens the ledger will see that the account is on a payment plan as well as the status of the payments. If there are missed payments, this will show up in red in the Past Due section. This will be extremely helpful if the financial coordinator is on vacation and relying on other team members to collect money at the time of service or field phone calls.
  3. When you send billing statements, if you have entered in the Payment Agreement, it will accurately reflect the amount due from the family. The billing statement will show the total account balance and, in the PLEASE PAY THIS AMOUNT box, it will show the agreed payment amount. Also, if the patient has missed a payment, the billing statement will show a past due amount at the top of the statement to draw attention to this missed payment. If you are not using this feature, you might be writing on the statement … and that takes more time out of your schedule.

The second option for setting up a payment plan is using the Future Due Payment Plan feature. Use this when the patient is going to incur charges over a period of time in the future, such as orthodontic treatment. The Future Due Payment Plan helps you manage your accounts receivable in three ways as well.
  1. In a similar manner as discussed above, you can filter your Collection Manager Report to search for patients with a FDPP so you can focus on those accounts and see if any of these accounts have missed a payment.
  2. When you create a FDPP, it will remove the balance out of your accounts receivable and bill it out at increments you decide on. For example, if a patient is going to schedule a $5,000 12-month ortho treatment and put $1,500 down, then you can set up the payment plan to “hide” the $3,500 and bill out $291.66 each month automatically. Additionally, you can set it up so it will automatically create an insurance claim to go out to the insurance company as well.
  3. Finally, you can print out a coupon book if the patient would like a reminder for their payments.

If you would like more information on my online course titled “Show me the Money” . . . CLICK HERE.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

It's time to replace your paper Rolodex

Do you remember when you had that big Rolodex sitting on your desk? With this vital office supply, you could easily find the number to the local Walgreens pharmacy to phone in a prescription for a patient or locate the janitor’s number to let him know the office would be closed on Monday for a holiday? Oh, you still have one on your desk? How is that working out for you? Did one of your team members “borrow” one of the cards and accidently re-file it back in the wrong order?

What if Dentrix G6 could organize your Rolodex for you so you never lost anything and your entire team could have access to it? That would be pretty awesome, right? Also, what if Dentrix G6 could pull all your labs, referring sources, employers, insurance carriers, and providers/staff into an electronic Rolodex for you so you could organize them by color and filter them by category? Would that just blow your mind? Let’s just step it up one more notch and let you add your own categories like pharmacies, contractors, family members, etc., so you can keep all your contacts right at your fingertips.

Let me introduce you to eDex. eDex has been launched in Dentrix G6 and is one of my favorite new features. eDex will completely replace that paper Rolodex sitting on your desk and your entire team will have access to it because it is inside your Dentrix software. Now you have room for that dual monitor you have been asking for J.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Are you an organizational freak?

I am an organization freak. If you walk into my closet, you will find my clothes arranged not only by style but also by color. Everything has a place. The same thing applies for organizing your patient’s chart. I go into offices that use color-coded forms in their paper chart or stickers to designate certain things.

When you are organizing your patient chart in Dentrix, you can organize certain things to make it work better for you and more efficient for your team. If you are using the clinical note templates, you will notice that there are about 17 categories listed. What I find in every office I work with is that they probably use about six of those categories. For example, a general dentist might have templates in Hygiene, Restorative, Fixed Prosthetics, Periodontics, and Endodontics, where as a pediatric dentist might only use Hygiene, Exams, and Restorative.

My point is that when you have 17 categories listed and you are only using four to six of them get rid of the ones you are not using. You have the flexibility here to combine, eliminate, and add your own categories. Make the list work for you.

First, go in and delete any clinical note templates you will never use then delete the category. For example, if you are a periodontist then delete the endo templates and the endo category. Next, rearrange the categories so that the most frequently used categories are on the top. Finally, create categories that are not listed but you would use in your office. I have worked with some offices where we have created categories for Products, TMJ, Sleep Apnea, etc. If your practice has multiple doctors, you can create categories specific for their templates. For example, Dr. John’s templates, Dr. Joe’s templates, Susie’s templates, etc.

Keeping things organized helps your team become more efficient and productive. Take advantage of all the customization that your Dentrix software has to offer and you will become a super-user.

Check out other blog posts on the topic of customization and efficiency in your patient chart:

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

How can you prepare for the ICD-10 deadline?

The countdown to October 1, 2015 continues as we all wait to see if the implementation of ICD-10 really happens or not. Many of you have been using the ICD-9 code sets when billing medical insurance for procedures like TMJ, sleep apnea, and trauma. However, we are now seeing the use of diagnostic coding in the adoption of EHR and practices that are billing Medicaid. After October 1, we are going to see many more requirements for diagnostic coding. So how can you prepare?
  • Find out if your practice management software will be ready for ICD-10 by October 1. This is critical if you have already been including diagnostic codes on your claims because the insurance providers will start denying claims without ICD-10 after October 1. I reached out to the Dentrix product manager and Dentrix G6.1 will be ready for ICD-10 … but you will still be responsible for adding the codes into the system.
  • Make sure you are using the ADA 2012 claim form because it has been upgraded to accommodate diagnostic coding. Within Dentrix, you can use the DX2012 or the DX2012F claim form to add diagnostic codes. Email me directly at if you would like an instructional PDF from the ADA on how to fill out the claim form.
  • Check your state Medicaid requirements to find out what diagnostic codes will be required. If you are already billing Medicaid, you are already familiar with the ICD-9 coding and hopefully you have already been informed about the looming October 1 deadline. Email me directly if you need more information about Medicaid requirements.
  • Start asking the insurance payers if they will pay for additional services if you are submitting the proper diagnosis codes. Many dental plans are now paying for additional preventative cleanings because of the direct relationship between periodontal disease and diabetes and heart disease.

As I get more information about his topic, I will keep you informed as much as possible. However, you can do your own research by clicking on the links below. Also, email me if you would like any of the information I discussed in this blog.

CLICK HERE  for ICD and CDT Coding Examples, you must be an ADA member to use this service.

CLICK HERE for free reference tools on the ICD-10 codes

CLICK HERE for the definition and final release from the CDC



Thursday, August 6, 2015

Your hygiene department is the lifeblood of your practice

Do you sometimes feel a little out of touch with your recare patients? Do you think sometimes there are patients you haven’t seen for a while and you wonder where they are? Are you ready to take your hygiene department to the next level?

Your hygiene department is the lifeblood of the practice. If you don’t have a reliable system for managing when your patients are due for their regular checkups, then your office could be spinning its wheels when it comes to working from accurate lists. If set up properly, the Dentrix Continuing Care system will run like a well-oiled machine. Let’s look at the features that will help you generate accurate lists, give you some custom filter options, and streamline the process.

First, decide what continuing care types you want to track and make sure they are linked to the correct procedure code. Remember, you can only have one continuing care type per procedure code. Some examples might be:
  • PROPHY linked to D1110 and D1120
  • PERIO linked to D4910 and D4341
  • RECARE linked to D4910, D1110, and D1120

CLICK HERE for more information on linking up your continuing care types to procedure codes.

The next piece you want to think about is how you might filter your lists and what kind of customization you can do within the Dentrix Continuing Care system. You are dealing with different biological systems and personalities, so Sally might need to come in every 3 months for her prophy and want to be scheduled only with HYG1 and Michael might need to come in every 6 months for his prophy but want to see HYG4. How do you keep track of all these personalized settings? Its super easy!

On the Family File, double click on the Continuing Care box > highlight the Prophy and click edit. This will open a new window. Here you can edit the patient interval and select a specific hygienist of choice.

After you have customized the patient’s Continuing Care screen, you and your team can now generate customized lists with the push of a button. You can create a list for HYG1 patients and a different list for HGY4 patients. This can help your hygienists and front office team fill openings faster and feel confident your lists are accurate and up to date. CLICK HERE for more information on keeping your hygiene schedule full (make sure to read all three articles).