Thursday, March 17, 2016

Accurate Family Balance or Accurate Patient Balance . . . you choose

In my last post, I talked about the fact that I love how many things in Dentrix can be customized to fit the needs of the practice, from the toolbars to colors on the patient chart. In addition to visual customizations, you can also change the way payments are handled in the ledger as they are applied to the providers and specific patients. You would think that every office would want to handle payments and track collections the same, but this is not the case. Many offices I work with find it is easier to post all the payments to the guarantor and the primary provider, but many offices are very particular about itemizing out the payment to the rendering provider and the specific patient ledger. However your practice handles payments, I think it would be a good time to help you understand how each allocation method affects your patient ledgers.

If you want to walk through it with me, go to your Office Manager > Maintenance > Preferences, under the General Options tab in the upper left area is the Default Payment/Adjustment Allocation settings.
  • ·        Provider
    • Split by Provider will separate out the patient payment to pay off each producing provider. Your insurance claims already do this … so why not split the personal payments as well?
    • To Patients Primary Provider will apply the entire personal payment to the patient’s primary provider (PROV1 on family file) regardless of who the producing provider is. This decision will give too much collections to one provider and, if you run a Provider A/R report, the payments and accounts receivable will be lopsided.
  • ·        Patient
    •  Family account will post the entire payment to the guarantor. The result of doing this will be an accurate family balance, but incorrect patient balances.
    • Current patient will post the personal payment only to the patient ledger you are logged onto currently.
    • Split by Family Members is a new feature with G6. It allows you to take one payment and distribute it out to multiple family members with one step. The result of doing this will be more accurate patient balances because it looks across the entire family account for patients with a balance. PLEASE NOTE: if you have archived a patient with a balance and you are using this new feature, it will pull that patient out of archive to apply a payment.
  • ·Split Method
    • Percentage Payments will equally distribute the patient payment between any providers who has a balance.
    • FIFO (first in first out) will pay off the oldest provider balance first.
    • Guarantor Estimate is always my first choice. What this allocation method will do is look at any current treatment with an insurance claim pending and allocate the patient payment depending on the insurance estimate. After it has allocated the payment to the estimated patient portion of the claim, it will revert to FIFO.
    • Equal payments is very similar to the percentage payments method but will just split the payment into equal payments instead of a percentage.

Why does one office choose an allocation method over another? Well, it depends on how you track collections and how important it is to you to have accurate patient ledgers. I want you to choose the method that fits your practice that is why there are lots of choices. Email me directly if you want to discuss this one-on-one.

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 and contact Dayna at

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