Tuesday, November 20, 2018

End-of-Year Tasks: Part Two

Last week we talked about making the task of updating fee schedules a part of your annual routine. This week I’d like to talk about another task I make a part of my annual routine. I think it’s important to schedule patients to have their permanent crowns cemented before the end of the year. The reason is that more insurance companies are paying for crowns based on the seat date.  If you wait until January to cement a permanent crown, the insurance company will pay towards the patient’s 2019 benefits, therefore the patient may lose any benefits they had left for 2018. It’s a good idea to contact patients who aren’t scheduled for their appointment to cement their permanent crown and get them into the office before their insurance renews on January 1st.

There are a couple of different ways you can identify which patients need to have their permanent crowns cemented:

Using the Lab Case Manager

If you have been entering cases into the Dentrix Lab Case Manager and changing the case status, you can use the Lab Case Manager and view patients with received cases. (Lab Case Manager > View > Misc. Options. Check the Received Cases box, and select OK.) For more information on the Lab Case Manager and updating the case status, read my blog post from October.

Using a Custom List

If you treatment plan a procedure code for a crown cement, you could also locate patients using Letters & Custom Lists. I’m a big fan of Letters & Custom Lists in Dentrix because it allows me to obtain lists of patients based on a number of different filters. I like the way that I can use the filters to find exactly the group of patients I’m looking for.

To find a list of patients with a treatment planned procedure for a crown cement open the Office Manager. From the toolbar select Letters & Custom Lists > Misc. > Patient report (by filters). Then select the Edit button. In the Letter or Custom List Setup screen, it’s important that all the filters used previously are cleared before you begin. 

Otherwise Dentrix will use those filters and your list of patients will not be accurate. To find patients with a treatment-planned cement crown procedure code, select the >> next to the Procedures filter. In the Search For box, check the box for Treat. Plan. Next choose the beginning and ending procedure codes. 

For example, if the procedure code your office uses for the cement crown is D2999, choose the beginning procedure code D2999 and ending procedure code D2999. You can choose to enter a procedure date range if needed, but it’s not necessary for this scenario. Select OK to save those filters, and then OK again to close the setup screen. Now select Open List Manager. This gives you a list of patients who have a treatment-planned cement crown procedure. You can access the patient’s other Dentrix modules from the List Manager, so it’s easy to navigate to the patient’s Family File, Ledger, Chart and Office Journal.

By scheduling patients to come in for an appointment to cement their permanent crowns before January 1, you can help them to better maximize their insurance benefits. If their insurance plan pays based on the seat date, the crown will be paid based on the patient’s 2018 insurance benefits and the patients 2019 insurance benefits will not be affected. Even if the patient’s insurance company doesn’t pay on the seat date, it can still be very important to schedule the patient to cement their permanent crowns before the holidays. The holidays tend to be the time that we eat more delicious, chewy, sticky foods that can pull off a temporary crown, so it’s beneficial for all patients to have their permanent crowns cemented before the holidays and January 1st.

For questions on this or another topic, please e-mail me at vectordentalconsulting@gmail.com, and I wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving!

Charlotte Skaggs, Certified Dentrix Trainer

Charlotte Skaggs is the founder of Vector Dental Consulting LLC, a practice management firm focused on taking offices to the next level. Charlotte co-owned and managed a successful dental practice with her husband for 17 years. She has a unique approach to consulting based on the perspective of a practice owner. Charlotte has been using Dentrix for almost 20 years and is a certified Dentrix trainer. Contact Charlotte at vectordentalconsulting@gmail.com.

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