Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Practice Analysis - Production Summary: What Information Does it Give You?

At the end of each year, it’s beneficial to evaluate your practice to determine what went well during the year and what needs improvement. This can also be a good time to evaluate which procedures were completed throughout the year, and when estimating your practice’s 2020 budget, if new equipment or supplies should be purchased based on those completed procedures.

For example:
  • If you find your office is generating most of its production doing crown and bridge procedures, you may want to consider purchasing a Cerec machine or a digital scanner.
  • If your office is mainly providing periodontal services, you may want to invest in additional periodontal instruments. 
  • If your office is placing a lot of implants (or referring them to a specialist), you may want to consider purchasing cone-beam computed tomography (CBCT).
In my opinion the best report to generate for information about which procedures your practice has completed during the year, is in the Practice Analysis. You can find the Practice Analysis Reports in the Office Manager by clicking Analysis > Practice. When the Dentrix Practice Analysis screen opens, click  Reports.

You have options to filter your Practice Analysis Reports by Provider and by Billing Type. For generating a report to determine which procedures you have completed for the year, I would suggest leaving both options set to <ALL>.

Next, select a date range. Then, in the Select Summary Reports section, check Production Summary. This report can be generated by category (for example Diagnostic, Preventive, Restorative, Endodontics etc.) or by procedure code. You can choose all procedure codes or a procedure code range. 


The Production Summary Report will provide:
  • The number of procedures completed within the selected date range
  • The total production generated by these procedures
  • The average fee for the procedure
  • The percentage these procedures contributed to the office's total production

This report can provide you with valuable information to evaluate future purchases for equipment or special supplies. This is good time to review these reports in order to make decisions for the upcoming year. 

Please contact me if you have any questions at vectordentalconsulting@gmail.com.


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.

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Customizing Coverage Tables

In order to maintain a healthy collection rate and accounts receivables, it’s important to collect your patient’s out of pocket portion of their balance at the time of service. This means estimating accurate insurance payments is important in order to know exactly how much the patient should pay. Entering accurate coverage tables into the Dentrix Family File can help you to provide your patients with more accurate estimates.

When entering PPO insurance into a patient’s Family File, most offices use the default coverage table.  The Dentrix default coverage table breaks down ADA codes into sections and categories, such as Diagnostic/Preventive (ADA codes D0100-D1999), Basic Restorative (ADA codes D2000-D2999) Endodontics (ADA codes D3000-D3999) etc.

I recommend customizing your default coverage table in order to make your insurance and patient estimates more accurate. For example, although a full mouth series of X-rays (ADA code D0210) falls into the category of Diagnostic/Preventive (ADA codes D0100-D1999), that particular code is often covered by insurance as a basic service with a deductible applied.

Let’s walk through how to do that.

You can customize your default coverage table in the Office Manager > Maintenance > Reference > Dental Ins Coverage Tables. Click the Add button to create a new line within the coverage table. Leave the Beginning Procedure column set at D0100, but change the Ending Procedure to D0191. Leave the Category, Coverage %, Deductible, Co-pay and Pre-Auth columns as they are, and click Change.

Then click the Add button again, and add a new line with the Beginning Procedure and Ending Procedure both set to D0210. Change the Category to Basic Restorative and enter the Coverage %, Deductible, Co-pay and Pre-Auth information based on what the plan pays. Then click Change.

The last step, is to add the rest of the diagnostic/preventive procedures in a new line on the coverage table. Click the Add button, enter Beginning Procedure as D0220 and the Ending Procedure as D1999, and enter the other column information based on the plan, and click Change.



So what you’ll end up with, is your original grouping of diagnostic/preventive codes at their original coverage, except the one code (D0210) which has a different coverage.

You can modify any coverage table to separate codes out of their original categories, and set a different coverage for them, apply a different deductible, apply a copay or require a pre-authorization. You can customize the coverage table based on the trends you see in your office.

Here’s some ideas of ADA codes insurance companies may pay differently for than are pre-set in the default coverage table:

  • FMX (ADA code 0210)
  • PA (ADA code D0220)
  • Sealants (ADA code D1351)
  • SRP (ADA codes D4341 and D4342)
  • Crown build up (ADA code D2950)
  • Occlusal Guard (ADA code D9940)

One thing to double check when customizing the default coverage table, is to be sure that all procedures codes are included (no gaps) and that they are listed in sequence.

Providing patients with more accurate estimates while they’re in the office can result in healthy account receivables. It can also result in happier patients because they won’t be receiving an unexpected bill from your office.

If you have questions about this topic, e-mail me at vectordentalconsulting@gmail.com.


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.

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Find Patients with Outstanding Treatment & Unused Insurance Benefits

As the end of the year quickly approaches, it’s important to schedule your patients with outstanding treatment in order to maximize their annual insurance benefits. This helps your practice because you can increase your office production, and it also helps your patients because maximizing their dental insurance benefits is financially beneficial for them.

Dentrix has a great tool that you can use to generate a list of patients who have outstanding treatment plans and remaining insurance benefits: the Treatment Manager. You can open the Treatment Manager from either the Appointment Book or the Treatment Planner.


There are many options to choose from when generating the Treatment Manager that you can use to build a custom list of patients you want to focus on.  You can use filters such as Billing Types, specific procedure codes or range of procedure codes, or limit your search to patients who have an appointment on the Unscheduled List.

When I’m generating the Treatment Manager to schedule patients at the end of the year to maximize their insurance benefits, I use the following options to filter my patient list:

  1. Treatment Plan Date - I like to focus on patients with procedures treatment planned within the last six months. If it has been longer than that since the treatment was diagnosed, the patient may have decided not to proceed, or the treatment plan may have changed, and the patient may require another exam with the doctor.
  2. Remaining Insurance Benefits - Select patients with a minimum amount of outstanding insurance benefits. I usually use the amount $500 because that is a significant amount of insurance benefits to use before the benefits expire.
  3. Benefit Renewal - Select January for the benefit renewal month in order to generate the Treatment Manager for patients whose insurance plan renews each calendar year.

Once you have selected these and other filters to generate your custom patient list, you can then choose what type of information displays for each patient on the list by selecting Show Columns

I like to be sure and show the patient’s phone number because it makes it easy to contact the patient directly from the list. Select the other information you want from the Available Columns list and add them to the Show these columns in this order list.


The Treatment Manager may take some time to generate. Remember that Dentrix is filtering your database and searching for patients that meet the criteria you specified.  Once the list has generated, use the Treatment Manager to contact patients and get them scheduled before their insurance benefits expire. 

My favorite part of the Treatment Manager is that you can select a patient from the list and then select an icon from the toolbar to open another Dentrix module for the patient. For example, this can be very convenient when calling patients to schedule because you have direct access to the Office Journal where you can make notes regarding contacting the patient, or quickly access the Patient Chart to answer any clinical questions the patient may have about their treatment. 

The Treatment Manager is a great tool to use to contact patients with outstanding treatment plans. And the options to filter by remaining insurance benefits make it an ideal tool to use to contact patients with outstanding benefits at the end of the year.


If you have questions about this topic please e-mail me at vectordentalconsulting@gmail.com.


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.

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Track Treatment Cases by Status

Last week, I talked about updating treatment case statuses in the Dentrix Treatment Planner. This week, let's talk about how to track cases according to their case status.

My recommendation is to run the Practice Treatment Case Report on a monthly basis to keep track of your cases. It's important to be informed about what's happening with cases in your office so you can constantly evaluate office procedures.

When evaluating the Practice Treatment Case Report, ask yourself the following questions:


If cases are being rejected, why are they being rejected?

Is the office financial procedure inflexible? Are appointment times difficult for patients to schedule? Asking these types of questions can help you to make informed decisions about offering third party or in-office financing and offering earlier or later appointment times for patients with busy work schedules. If cases are rejected by patients, I suggest making a note when rejecting the case in order to keep track of why the case was rejected. You can view the note in the Case Status history.


Are insurance pre-authorizations being sent back to your office in a timely manner?

If you are sending pre-authorizations to insurance carriers, are they being sent back? If not, why? Is your office sending the required documentation with those pre-authorizations such as a narratives, X-rays or probe depths?


Are your follow-up attempts with patients working?

For your cases with a follow-up status, how are you contacting patients, and most importantly, is it working? For many patients, calling and leaving a voicemail during the day may not be a good way to reach them. Consider e-mail or another form of contact.

To generate the Practice Treatment Case Report, In the Treatment Planner, select the printer icon in the Treatment Plan Case Setup panel. Then select Practice Treatment Case Report.


You have many options in generating this report including limiting results by provider, billing type, and case status. You can choose to select a date range for the treatment planned procedures. There are several report options based upon what you would like to see on your reports. In the Report Options section, I recommend printing a condensed report because the report may be quite long. Also, I recommend excluding completed procedures from cases because for the examples I gave, I would not want to include completed procedures.

Tracking case statuses in your office can help to improve case acceptance and help you to evaluate office policies and procedures regarding patient financing and appointment times.

You can contact me with any questions at vectordentalconsulting@gmail.com.


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.

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

When and How to Use Treatment Case Statuses

I’ve had some questions come up recently regarding tracking case acceptance in the office. I wanted to provide some tips on how to track the status of a treatment case in Dentrix, and which reports you should use to track treatment cases most effectively.

This week, let’s talk about the different case statuses you can assign in the Dentrix Treatment Planner and when you should use them.

In either the Treatment Planner panel within the Patient Chart, or from the Treatment Planner module, select a treatment case and then click the Update Case Status button.


Select one of the following case statuses:

Created
When a new treatment case is created for a patient, it will automatically be assigned a created status.

Printed
When you print a treatment case, the status will automatically change to printed. In many offices this is a good indication that the patient has been provided with a copy of their treatment plan.

PreAuth (Pri)
Update the case with this case status when sending a pre-authorization to insurance. This can be a good way to track which cases’ pre-authorizations have been sent, and can help to remind your team why the patient is waiting to schedule an appointment.

PreAuth (Sec)
Use this case status to indicate when a pre-authorization has been sent to secondary insurance.

Follow-Up Made
If you have followed up with a patient about their treatment case, you should change their case status accordingly. I would also recommend making detailed notes about what was said during the follow up call in the Dentrix Office Journal.

Referred
If the entire treatment case has been referred to another provider outside of your practice, you should indicate that by changing the case status. I would use this in the case of extractions. If some of the treatment will be done in your office and the rest is referred, you could create a new treatment case for the referred treatment and change the status of that case.

Proposed
This status indicates the case has been proposed to the patient, but they haven’t made a decision about whether or not to proceed with treatment. This would be a temporary case status until the patient accepts or rejects the treatment case.

Accepted
Use this status when the patient has accepted the treatment case and scheduled an appointment.

Rejected
Use this status when the patient has decided not to proceed with the treatment case. I would recommend adding detailed notes why the patient has rejected the case.

Completed
Change the case status to completed once all of the procedures within the case have been set complete.

Keeping statuses updated is important because it is an easy for everyone on the team to see what is going on with a particular case. Also, you can run reports based on the status for an easy follow up system for outstanding cases.

Join me next week when we’ll talk about which reports to run in order to track case statuses most effectively.

If you have questions about this or other topics, please e-mail me at vectordentalconsulting@gmail.com.


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.