Are Provider Credits Making Your Accounts Off Balance?

Let Dentrix find and correct the problems for you.

To keep your financial records neat and tidy (and accurate), it is important to post payments and adjustments to the providers and patients that are owed money. That concept might seem simple enough, but it may not always have worked out that way in your office.

If you only look at the grand totals of an account or a report, this problem will not be obvious. After all, when you add the balance owed by one family member with the credit of another family member, they offset each other and the total family balance is correct. Similarly, if you add up the different providers’ payments and production, the grand totals on your reports might also look good. But behind those totals hide the ugly, unbalanced details.

The question is, since the grand total is right, should you even bother to fix these issues? The answer is yes! Credit balances should be corrected for these reasons:

  • The split payment and split adjustment features will not work the way you want them to when these incorrect balances exist. Dentrix will see providers with old balances buried deep in the Ledger and try to allocate today’s payments to credit those old balances instead of focusing on today’s new charges.
  • If you ever plan to separate or combine patients into different family groups, you need each family member to have a clean balance first. That way you won’t have to make “special adjustments” between this patient and the head of house.

To correct these old balances, you’ll need to rearrange the money between providers and patients by making adjustments of equal amounts in credits and charges and posting them to the patients involved. They will zero out the errors and bring the accounts into balance. But that can be easier said than done.

The Allocate Credit Balances Feature

The Allocate Credit Balances feature will analyze an account and display which patients and providers have credits and/or charges. Then all you have to do is tell Dentrix which adjustments you want to make and let Dentrix post the adjustments for you.

In the Ledger, select a patient. From the Transaction menu, select Allocate Credit Balances. Open the Provider Balances According to menu (in the upper-left corner) and select the Family Members option. This view will give you a complete picture of each family member and their providers’ balances. You will also be able to see across all family members, observing who has credits and who need charges—including archived patients and inactive providers!

Choose one of the automatic allocation methods to let Dentrix determine how to properly adjust each provider to bring harmony to these account balances. Choose FIFO (First In First Out), and Dentrix will rebalance the accounts by adjusting off the oldest balances first and working its way to the newest balances last. Or choose Guarantor Estimate and Dentrix will use the FIFO method but not allocate money to a provider that is already expected to receive payment from an insurance claim.

After clicking one of these options, you’ll see the numbers fill into the Adjustments column, and the New Balance column will reflect what the new provider balances will be if you proceed. If you like what you see, click OK/Post.

The Provider Credit Balances Manager

Provider credit balance problems are often difficult to see. To help you find accounts that need your attention without pouring over aging reports and opening individual Ledgers, use the Provider Credit Balances Manager. Accounts displayed in the manager will include at least one provider with a credit balance, which indicates that you should investigate it further using the Allocate Credit Balances feature.

To access the manager, from the Ledger click File > Provider Credit Balances Manager. Select the view options needed, and click OK. Now, double-click a patient’s account to open its Allocate Credit Balances window. Here you can adjust the balance(s) as previously discussed.

These tools will reduce accounting headaches by helping you identify accounts that require your attention and correcting the problems for you so that you can keep your patients’ accounts up to date and accurate. Simplify the process of transferring patient/provider balances within a family easily, with no adverse effects on the Ledger or patient walkout statements.

How Can It Help Me in My Office?

  • Dentrix finds the problems, does the math, and then posts all the adjustments for you. You don’t have to waste time searching for problems and running multiple reports to make sure you made the adjustments correctly.
  • When you make adjustments through the Allocate Credit Balances feature, the adjustments do not change the patient’s account aging. If you were to make standard adjustments yourself directly in the patient’s Ledger, the credits would reset the aging brackets back to zero, and the debits would count as current transactions—effectively wiping out the aging amounts.
  • Adjustments made through the Allocate Credit Balances feature will be hidden on your patient’s billing statement. These internal accounting adjustments can confuse patients, so not displaying them is generally easier for everyone involved. (If you do want to show those adjustments, you can change the setting in Allocate Credit Balances setup.)
  • The feature helps you avoid future mistakes. Adjustments made through this feature cannot be deleted individually. Doing so would undo the balance corrections. If a team member tries to delete or edit these adjustments, they will be redirected back to the Allocate Credit Balances window, where they can see how their changes will affect all family members and providers.

Learn More

To see how the feature works, watch our video under the Improved Allocate Credit Balances header on the What’s New blog.

Read Allocating Credit Balances in Dentrix Help for a deeper dive on the feature.

By Ryan Beardall, Contributing Editor