Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Dealing with crazy insurance limitations

Insurance plans are driving us crazy! The benefit coverage creations that some of these plans are coming up with are just ridiculous. Because of that, you have to figure out how to enter it into the computer system so you can give your patients the most accurate treatment plan estimate possible. Some plans will cover only gold crowns on molar teeth while others won’t pay for gold crowns at all. I was in a pediatric office recently and one thing they struggle with on a regular basis is the sealant coverage because it is different and all over the board.

With these tips today, hopefully you can customize your treatment plan estimates for a patient and use your Dentrix software in a more efficient way.

First, let’s look at when an insurance plan will pay for a procedure on one tooth but not another because of plan limitations or patient frequency limitations. There is a way you can override the insurance plan coverage table and payment table directly. When you are in the patient chart or the treatment planner, double click on the procedure code and it will open up the edit window. As a note, this is also where you could put a procedure note or refer it out to a specialist.

In the upper right section of this window, you will see an Override Dental Insurance Benefits. You can put a check mark in the Prim Ins and then the insurance coverage. If they have secondary, you can do the same thing. This technique also works well if you are estimating over two benefit years or if the crown is paid on the seat date or if there is a missing tooth clause.

The next tip is if a procedure is not covered at all on this plan and would apply to any tooth number or any patient on this plan. The best way to handle these types of situations is by using the Payment Table. The Payment Table overrides the Coverage Table and is great for things like posterior composite downgrades, nightguard coverage, grafting, etc.

This type of data would apply to any patient that is on this plan and is not patient specific. Remember that the Payment Table will override the Coverage Table.

For more articles on insurance and estimating, click on the titles below . . .

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

What happens if I back date a clinical note?

Your clinical note is part of your legal documentation for your patient’s chart. When I say, “legal documentation,” to me, this means that it cannot be deleted or altered without some kind of security feature in place. There are only a few places in Dentrix that I consider “part of the legal documentation” and the clinical note is one of those places. So what exactly happens to make it a secure place to make clinical notes and what happens if you need to edit a note or back date a note?

First, it is important to know that the clinical note will be locked into history if you sign the note or you run the month end process. If you need to alter the clinical note after it has been secured, the only way to do this is with an Addendum. The Addendum will attach itself directly to the original note with today’s date. After you have saved this Addendum, it is also locked up into history and cannot be altered or deleted. If you ever need to print out your patient’s clinical notes, you will see the date of entry and the date of the Addendum.

Now, there may be times when you will need to back date a note. For example, if the doctor comes in the office on the weekend to see a patient and he does not write up the clinical note on that day, he will need to back date the note. Another example might be if you forgot to write up your clinical note for a patient visit (we are all human) and you need to back date it. If you are back dating a clinical note into a month that has already been closed out, your note will automatically be secured into history. Also, if you back date a note, it will show the date it was created and the date it was backdated to. See image below.

Knowing how your clinical note documentation will present when printed is important to know if and when you need to show your clinical documentation. The Dentrix software does a great job to show the dates and times so you can feel confident in the integrity of your clinical documentation.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Give your patients freedom to fill out forms from anywhere

Last week’s blog titled “How wide open is the back door ofyour practice?” talked about patient
retention and how to track it using the Practice Advisor report. I think it is important to track and monitor your numbers to know the health of your practice, especially your patient retention. You invest a lot into attracting new patients and I would expect the same or more from you to keep your existing ones.

One thing that comes to mind with both new patients and existing patients is the topic of patient forms. Nobody likes to fill out a form these days and the office struggles with the time it takes and scanning paper. Making the task of filling out forms more convenient, easy and faster for both the patient and the practice will help create happy, loyal patients.

Image if your patients could fill out their new patient forms from their mobile phone while they are sitting on their couch watching the MLB All-Star game this week or a patient of record updating his or her health history while sitting on a train during the commute to work. You don’t have to image this. It is reality.

While I was working with a practice recently, the office Wi-Fi was down so we did not have the opportunity to test the new electronic forms from the office website. With no Wi-Fi, every team member got on her mobile phone and filled out the new patient forms from her phone. It was amazing! We had team members ranging in age from 23 to 60 typing in information to submit.

In the newest version of Dentrix, the Questionnaire forms have been redesigned in an HTML format. This gives the patient more accessibility to the forms and gives the office better management of the forms. Don’t make your patients print a PDF from home and bring in a paper form that your team must scan. Give your patients the freedom to fill out patient information from anywhere.

CLICK HERE for more information on how to integrate electronic forms from Dentrix into your website, mobile device or tablet.

Monday, July 3, 2017

How wide open is the back door of your practice?

How wide open is the back door to your practice? I asked this question to a doctor during one of our training sessions because he was so convinced that his patients did not leave his practice. He knew that his patients were scheduling their next visit and loyal to his practice. This practice was very successful and had very good production and collection numbers … but they were totally in the dark about what their patient retention number was.

I opened their eyes with the click of a button   . . . okay, maybe three clicks.

When we opened the Practice Advisor Report during the training session, our entire agenda went out the window and we started down a completely different path. Patients were pre-scheduling their next visit at a rate of 54% and the patient retention was at 66%. I thought the doctor was going to fall off his chair.

Numbers tell a story and monitoring your key performance indicators is a must when running a small business. Remember, your dental practice is a small business. Dentrix and a group of dental practice management consultants put their heads together many years ago and developed the Practice Advisor Report to help you monitor these KPIs. One of the most important numbers comes on page 3 of the report.

From the Office Manager, click on Analysis > Practice Advisor Report. Click on Practice Advisor Report and it will open up a new window. Here are my recommendations when you are ready to look at the numbers for your patient retention.
  1. Select the last day of the previous month in the Generate Report as of:
  2. Select Procedure Date for more accurate numbers
  3. Highlight your active providers
  4. In the Continuing Care section, select only your recare continuing care types (Prophy, Perio, Recare, etc). Do not select X-rays or anything that doesn’t relate to recare.
  5. Click Preview and it will launch the report

The Patient Retention is located on the third page titled Continuing Care. You can see the image below to get a visual of what it looks like. For more information on this topic, CLICK HERE to be directed.

Now if you have never set up this report before, I can send you an info sheet that outlines my recommendations or we can setup an online training session. Email me directly for either option. You can also check out other blogs about the Practice Advisor within this blog.