Let Dentrix help you find patients with outstanding treatment and remaining insurance benefits so you can get them scheduled before the end of the year.
Now that the back-to-school rush is over, it’s time to start thinking about the end of the year. It’s a great time to encourage patients with dental insurance to use their insurance benefits before they expire. Many patients don’t realize that they have unused insurance benefits, or they’re unaware that unused benefits expire. By contacting your patients now, you’ll be doing them a favor by helping them maximize their remaining insurance benefits, and you’ll be giving your practice a year-end profitability boost.
Dentrix has several tools and features that can make it easy to for you find and contact these patients. You can use the Treatment Manager to get a list of patients who have treatment-planned procedures and remaining insurance benefits, and then you can use the tools in the Treatment Manager to contact individual patients by phone, email, or letter. If you want to send a letter to the entire group of patients who have treatment-planned procedures and remaining insurance benefits, you can use the Letter Merge to merge year-end letters for the entire group at once.
Creating a Filtered List of Patients
One of the most powerful tools available is the Treatment Manger.
You can use the Treatment Manager to generate a filtered list that shows just the patients you need to see. And since the Treatment Manager is an interactive list, once you’ve generated the custom list of patients you can work directly from the list to call patients, send email messages, generate quick letters and quick labels, make Office Journal notes, and enter guarantor notes.
To access the Treatment Manager, from the Appointment Book click the Treatment Manager button. In the Treatment Manager View dialog box, specify your filter criteria. The Treatment Manager list will be generated based on the criteria you specify.
You can enter any filter criteria that makes sense for your practice, but if you’re contacting patients about scheduling an appointment before the end of the year, it’s a good idea to find patients who meet the following criteria: a) active patients, b) have insurance, c) have at least $100 of either primary or secondary insurance benefits remaining for the year, d) have a treatment plan worth at least $10 that was diagnosed in the last year, and e) are not on either the Bad Debt, Payment Plan, or No Insurance billing types.
Once you have set up the search criteria, click OK to generate the list.
Contacting Patients Using the Treatment Manager
Once you have generated the Treatment Manager list, you can look at the information about each patient and decide if you want to contact them, and if so, how you want to do it. For example, if you know a patient has a flexible schedule and can schedule an appointment right away, select the patient and click the More Information button to see a list of that patient’s contact information.
Call the patient and schedule the appointment. Then, right-click the patient and select Hide Patient to hide them from the list once you have contacted them. You can also use the Treatment Manager to contact patients who respond best through email. Select a patient and click the Send Message button. A blank email message will open. If the patient has an email address entered in the Family File, the patient’s email address will be listed in the To: field. You can then type the message and send it to the patient.
If you want to send a letter to certain patients, you can generate a quick letter from the Treatment Manager that shows patients their treatment plan totals and remaining insurance benefits. Select the patient to whom you want to send the letter, and then click the Quick Letters button. In the Quick Letters dialog box, select the letter called Treatment Plan Reminder (dtxlm21.doc) and click Print.
(Note: The Treatment Plan Reminder letter may not be available in your Quick Letters dialog box. If it isn’t, follow the instructions in the “Adding Letters to Quick Letters” topic in the Dentrix Help to add it.)
You can also print a mailing label to attach to the letter by clicking the Quick Labels button. From the Quick Labels dialog box, select Patient Mailing Label, and then click Print.
Finding More Information Using the Treatment Manager
Not only does the Treatment Manager give you several options for contacting patients, but because it’s an interactive list, you can use it to find any information you need about a specific patient or their account. You can also use it to enter guarantor notes with information you get from patients as you talk to them, and you can create Office Journal entries to keep track of your contacts with the patient.
With a patient selected in the Treatment Manager, click the Treatment Planner button to open the Treatment Planner directly. From there you can view the patient’s treatment plan to decide which procedures are the priority for the amount of insurance benefits remaining.
You can also access the other Dentrix modules from the Treatment Manager. Click the Ledger button to view patients’ balance information and outstanding insurance claims to ensure that their accounts are in good standing before you contact them. Click the Family File button to view patient information, patient notes, and specific insurance plan information.
As you are contacting patients, it’s a good idea to create an Office Journal entry that summarizes the contact. That way if there are several different people in your practice contacting patients, you can see who was contacted, when they were contacted, and how. To add an Office Journal entry, select a patient on the list and click the Office Journal button. From the Office Journal, click the Add Journal Entry button to document the patient contact you made.
Sending Year-End Letters Using the Letter Merge
Some practices may want to generate letters for the entire group of patients who have treatment-planned procedures and remaining insurance benefits all at once. Then, after the patients have received the letter and had a chance to respond, you can use the Treatment Manager to follow up with each patient individually. The Dentrix Letter Merge allows you to send a letter to all the patients in this situation.
You can set up data filters in the Letter Merge that are similar to the ones in the Treatment Manager to narrow the list of who will receive the letter. This way, only active patients who have treatment-planned procedures and at least $100 of remaining insurance benefits will receive the letter. Additionally, you can also set up filters to exclude patients who have an outstanding balance or are attached to a particular billing type. To merge the letters, from the Office Manager, click Letters > Misc. In the Misc. Letters dialog box, select the Treatment Plan Reminder Letter (dtxlm21.doc), and click Edit to set up the filters you want to use for this letter.
(For detailed instructions about setting up the appropriate filters for the year-end letter, log in to the Dentrix Resource Center and search for article #67325.)
Once you have set up the filters, click Create/Merge to merge the letters. Dentrix will create a data file that contains all the patients who match your filter criteria and then merge the information into Microsoft Word.
You can then print the letters from Microsoft Word. Once you’ve merged your letters, you can generate mailing labels for all patients receiving a letter using the dtxlabl.doc letter template. Don’t wait until November to contact your patients about maximizing their insurance benefits and scheduling treatment before the end of the year. Begin contacting patients now so that you can plan for a productive final quarter of the year that will meet the needs of your patients and give you a boost in year-end profitability.
To learn more about the Treatment Manager, see the Treatment Manager overview topic in the Dentrix Help.
Read “Using the Treatment Manager to Keep Your Schedule Full” for more ideas.
Visit https://www.dentrix.com/products/eservices/patient-engage to discover how Dentrix can help you engage with your patients.
By Erin Brisk, Contributing Editor
Originally published in Dentrix Magazine, Fall 2013