Weeding the Garden . . . your Dentrix ledgers need some spring cleaning

I seem to be saying these words a lot lately so, whenever I find myself repeating topics over and over to different offices, I know it’s time for a blog post. Then, when I receive an email from one of my closest coaching friends about the same topic, I definitely know it’s time to write about it. Cleaning up your patients’ misallocated Dentrix ledgers is like “weeding the garden” and right now they need some serious spring cleaning.

Allocating your patient ledgers in Dentrix is like weeding the garden

These words have been rolling off my tongue more than usual in the past few weeks. I think what is happening is many practices have new team members who are able to see things with fresh eyes and people are ready to tackle projects that have been swept under the rug for years.

If you have no idea what I am talking about, let me shed some light on the subject.

In Dentrix, there are a few different ways you can allocate a patient payment for services.

  • Apply the entire payment to the guarantor
  • Apply the payment to the patient’s primary provider
  • Apply the payment to the oldest balance or the current balance
  • Apply the payment to one provider or multiple providers
  • Split the payment to all the family members
  • Split the payment between providers using a %

What happens over time is that all of these payment allocation options are used, and it creates a mess with the patient ledgers. The patient ledger ends up with some patients having a credit balance and some patients having a balance, even when the family balance is zero. This is caused by team turnover and lack of training, or team turnover and employees who want to do it their way, even with proper training. Or, it could be caused by changes with accounting philosophy. All of this leads to ugly reports and unequal ledger balances.

So, what can be done about it? It can be fixed … if you want to put in the work.

First, talk about if it is important to the practice. For some doctors, it is not a priority. However, for some, having clean reports and patient ledgers is extremely important. If any of the providers are being paid on collections, then it is very important that the payments are being allocated correctly so the providers are paid accurately.

Once you have decided that it is important to allocate the payments properly, put a plan in place and write it down so there is a resource guide for the team. Maybe create a training video or step by step worksheet on how to “weed the garden.” If you want my resource guide on ledger allocation, then CLICK HERE and download it.

In Dentrix, there are a couple of things you are going to want to do as first steps to launch the new protocol. Go to the Office Manager > Maintenance > Practice Setup > Preferences and, in the upper left corner where it says “Payment/Adjustment Options,” select the options that are right for your office. For proper payment allocation, my recommendations would be to Split by Provider, Split by Family, and either Guarantor Estimate or FIFO. This is going to default the selections when the team posts payments to the patient ledger. Then, assign someone on the team to put some gardening gloves on and take a sweep through the list of patient ledgers that need to be cleaned up. There is a new tool called the Provider Credit Balances Manager that makes it a lot easier and faster to clean up the misallocations from the past.

If you want to hire someone to do a spring cleaning and tackle the list for you, email Dayna directly and she will send you a list of people who are qualified to perform Dentrix ledger cleanup.

After the Provider Credit Balances Manager report is cleaned up and the Payment/Adjustment Options have been set up the way you want them, it now becomes a maintenance program . . . “weeding the garden.” Open the Provider Credit Balances Manager report daily or weekly to check for any patient ledgers that need to be fixed. With this plan in place, the reports and patient ledgers will be more accurate. If you want expert instruction on this topic and other topics, check out the online courses we have available by CLICKING HERE