Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Are you a stickler for accurate numbers?


How often does a patient call and ask, “What is my balance?” If it is a single patient ledger, the answer is relatively simple. But what if a mother of five calls and asks for each of her kid’s balances? Would you be able to answer her while you are on the phone or would you need to call her back after printing off the individual ledgers and manually calculating the patient balances because all personal payments have always been posted to the family or guarantor in your office?

I am a stickler for numbers and, if you are like me, you want your patient balances to be accurate. My office team is trained to not only split payments between providers, but also split payments between patients. If at any time someone wants to know his or her patient balances, we can give it without hesitation.

So how do you do it? It takes a little more management, but it’s worth it.
  1. Posting personal payments
    • All personal payments must be applied to the patient ledger NOT the family ledger.
    • If a personal check needs to be applied to multiple family members, you will need to divide up the payment and apply it to the individual patient balances. This is where you might need to estimate based on an outstanding insurance claim.
    • The computer will allocate the payment correctly to the providers depending on how you have the default payment allocation set up in the Practice Setup. To check how your office payment allocation is set up, go to the Office Manager > Maintenance > Practice Setup > Preferences. In the upper left drop down menu, see what is selected here. You should have one of two choices selected.
      • Split Payment, FIFO – This will pay off the oldest balances first, regardless of open insurance claims.
      • Split Payment, Guarantor/Ins Est – This will split up the payment between providers, taking the insurance claim estimate into consideration. If there are no open claims, it will automatically pay off the oldest balance first.
  2. Posting insurance payments - This process does not change if you are itemizing by procedure when posting insurance payments. The computer will continue to allocate the payments based on how the coverage table has been established in the insurance setup.
  3. Making adjustments to equal out the balances. 
    • If the family balance is 0 but there are patients within the family who have a balance and a credit, then you might need to readjust the payments. This can be done by making a +Transfer Balance adjustment to the patient account with the credit and a –Transfer Balance adjustment to the patient who has the balance. Then reallocate the provider balances by clicking on top toolbar > Transactions > allocate credit balances.
    • If you are making these adjustments to readjust the patient balances, make sure you check the Adjustment Report every month. The +Transfer Balance and the –Transfer Balance should be the same number.

Following these steps will ensure that your provider reports are accurate and your patient balances are always easy to figure out. If you are a numbers person like me, this is a must.


Dayna Johnson, Certified Dentrix Trainer
Dayna loves her work. She has over 25 years of experience in the dental industry, and she’s passionate about building efficient, consistent, and secure practice management systems. Dayna knows that your entire day revolves around your practice management software—the better you learn to use it, the more productive and stress-free your office will be. In 2016, Dayna founded Novonee ™, The Premier Dentrix Community, to help cultivate Dentrix super-users all over the country. Learn more from Dayna at www.novonee.com and contact Dayna at dayna@novonee.com.


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