Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Managing Accounts Receivable

Managing your accounts receivable is a very important task. And while I talk a lot about production and ways you can increase your production totals, if you’re not collecting, it doesn’t matter how much you produce.

Your office should strive for a collection rate goal that is 97-99% of production. In order to achieve this goal, be sure to collect from patients at the time of service. This would be considered over-the-counter collections.

The other important factor in maintaining a healthy collection rate, is to consistently follow up on all outstanding accounts receivable. Dentrix has several reports to help you with this task. I recommend you dedicate time every week to review the reports below and follow up on outstanding accounts.

Insurance Aging Report

You can generate the Insurance Aging Report in Dentrix by going to Office Manager > Reports > Ledger > Insurance Aging Report. In the settings window, I recommend you view all patients, all insurance carriers, and all providers, and then select claims over 30 days past due. These are outstanding claims that may require action from your office. Select Print Status Notes to view previous notes you have made regarding the status of the claim.


Ideally, no claim should remain unpaid 60 days after the date of service. This means following up with insurance companies consistently. Generate the Insurance Aging Report on a weekly basis. If a claim has been outstanding for 30 days, contact the insurance company to find out why the claim hasn’t been paid. If you are using Insurance Manager, you can check the status of a claim online. If not, you can contact the insurance company directly. Once you have checked the status of the claim, make detailed notes in the status window within the claim. If the claim needs to be resent, check the box next to resent. Today’s date will automatically be entered in the date field, but you can change the date if necessary. This information will be displayed on the Insurance Aging Report for reference when you generate the report next week.

Aging Report

You can generate the Aging Report in Dentrix by going to Office Manager > Reports > Ledger > Aging Report. The Aging Report allows you to view the total accounts receivable for the office, due both from patients and from insurance. This report displays the guarantor name, total family balance, how much of the balance is estimated to be paid by insurance and the guarantor’s estimated portion of the account balance. It also displays the account aging by current balances, 30-60 days past due, 60-90 days past due and over 90 days past due. 

It is important to note that accounts are aged based on the Close Transactions settings in the Reports and Tasks Scheduler. If you aren’t current with performing this process, your accounts aging may not be accurate. 

Something else I find important to point out regarding the Aging Report is that any patient credit balances will be applied to the total accounts receivable. If you don’t want to view the Aging Report including credits, enter a minimum balance to print of $0.01.


Collections Manager

While the Aging Report has lots of great information, it’s not an interactive report you can use when contacting patients regarding an account balance. A better tool to use would be the Collections Manager. You can find the Collections Manager in the Office Manager > Analysis > Collections Manager.  

You have many options in the setup window based upon the guarantors you want to display. I recommend the following settings:


  1. Include all guarantors and all providers.
  2. Select the billing types you want to include. I exclude the Bad Debt to Collections and No Statement and No Finance Charges billing types because I’m not attempting to collect from those guarantors.
  3. Check the Skip Accounts with a Claim Pending box, and change the if the Patient Portion is Less Than amount to $20.00, because when you use the Collections Manager to collect accounts receivable from patient, you may not want to display accounts you’re expecting insurance to pay.
  4. Under Select # of Payments Missed, select 0 or more in order to view all patients.
  5. Set the Minimum Balance to $0.01.
  6. In the Minimum Days Past Due group box, select Over 30 days
When a patient’s account is over 30 days past due, it’s time for action from your office. You can also send a gentle reminder letter and follow up with a phone call. Document this correspondence in the Office Journal.
    When you generate a list of patients that match your settings, you can use the Collections Manager to contact patients and easily access the patient’s Family File, Ledger, Office Journal, Payment Agreement, and Guarantor Notes all from this screen.
      Consistently following up with insurance companies and patients regarding account balances can help you to maintain a higher collection rate. I recommend dedicating time every week to generate, review and follow up with insurance companies and patients from these reports and lists, ideally in a quiet place with limited distractions.
        Please e-mail me with any questions about these reports 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.

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