Fast Family Payments: Let Dentrix Do the Math

Enter a single family payment and watch Dentrix post it to multiple family members.

In order to keep accurate records, it’s important to enter payments for the correct provider on the correct patient account. Dentrix G6 includes a new feature that helps you do that even when you are splitting a single payment among several family members. Dentrix does the calculations for you and posts the payment to the patients and providers you choose, so your entries are accurate and precise.

The Problem

When a patient makes a single payment that needs to be applied to multiple family members, you have to manually calculate how to split that payment. You have to choose a family member, accurately calculate the portion of the payment to be applied to that patient, enter all the payment information, ensure that the payment is allocated to the correct provider(s), and then post the payment. Then, you have to repeat the entire process for every family member for whom the payment applies. And since it’s a manual process, it’s time-consuming and easy to have miscalculations and errors.

The Solution

Use the Split Payment by Family Members feature to split a single payment among several family members, all from one dialog box. Dentrix automatically calculates the split and posts payments for selected family members who have outstanding balances. You enter payment information only once and let Dentrix take care of the rest.

Step 1: Select a patient and enter general payment information

Open the Ledger and select one of the patients to whom the payment applies. Click Transaction > Enter Payment. In the Enter Payment dialog box, enter the following general payment information: payment date, payment amount, check number, bank/branch number, and payment type. This information will appear on each payment that is posted for each family member.

The current date will appear in the Date field. Change the date as necessary. For example, you may want to back-date a payment to the day it was received and not the day it was entered, which may be a day or two later than when you received it.

Enter the total payment amount and select the payment type, which indicates how the payment was made. If you have many payment types, you can use the search field to quickly find the payment type you want.

Enter a check/payment number and a bank/branch number as needed. These options can help you track payments if there are questions or disputes about particular payments and make it easier to see which payments are related on the Day Sheet.

Step 2: Enter the split payment details

In the Patient drop-down menu, select Split By Family Members. This option allows you to split a payment among any family members, including the guarantor, who have outstanding balances. If patients have been archived but still have individual balances in the Ledger, the Split By Family Members feature can still allocate money to these archived patients’ balances. When you select Split By Family Members, the Provider option box is grayed out, and Dentrix automatically splits the payment among the providers who have balances on each family member’s account.

Next, from the Split Method drop-down menu, choose a split payment method to determine how Dentrix will calculate the amount that will be applied to each family member’s balance.

  • The Percentage Payments method divides the payment among the providers according to provider’s percentage of the total amount owed. The provider who is owed the most receives the largest portion of the payment.
  • The Guarantor Estimate method applies the payment to providers who have balances as guarantor estimates, and it ignores provider balances that Dentrix estimates insurance will pay the remainder of.
  • The FIFO (First In First Out) method applies the payment toward the oldest completed procedures first.
  • The Equal Payments method splits payment amount equally among all providers with debit balances.

You should decide on split payment methods that work best for your practice, and use them in a consistent manner. You can set the default payment assignment options by clicking Payment Settings, selecting the defaults you want to use, and then clicking OK.

Step 3: Confirm Split Payment Details

Once you have entered all pertinent information for a payment, click the Details button to display a list of how much money each family member owes to which provider. The list includes patients, providers, patient balances, guarantor estimate amounts, and the amount to be paid (according to your selected split method). You can sort the list by clicking the Patient or Provider columns, and you can also hide (and unhide) a patient’s information by clicking the arrows in the Pay column.

From this list, you can manually adjust the amounts being paid. Double-click on any family member’s balance in the Pay column and change it to the desired amount. The Remaining Amount field will show you how much money you have yet to allocate to each family member. You cannot post a payment until the amount in that field is zero ($0.00).

You can also prioritize payments by choosing a provider balance that you want to have the payment applied to first. To give priority to a specific balance, select the line item of the provider you want and click the Give Payment Priority to selected items button. That balance will be paid off first, and the remaining balance(s) will be paid according to the split method that you selected.

The Provider Balances section of the dialog box lists the total amount owed to each provider and what the provider’s new balance will be once the payment is made. These amounts will be updated as you adjust the payment amounts for each patient and provider.

Step 4: Finalize and post the payment

To finalize a payment there are two more items you should consider: the Note field and applying the payment to a patient’s payment agreement.

In the Note field, enter a note to document circumstances related to the payment. Click the Insert Date Line button to insert a date line into the note.

If you want to apply this payment to a payment agreement, check the Apply To Payment Agreement check-box. If the guarantor’s account has a current payment agreement, this option will be checked by default. However, if you do not want to apply the payment to the payment agreement, uncheck the box before you finalize the payment.

To post the payments, click OK. Dentrix will post individual payments for each provider on each patient account that was included in the split.

Next Steps

Use the following checklist to help you implement ideas from this article in your practice.

  • Decide with your team what information you want to include in the Check/Payment # or the Bank/Branch # fields if the payment is not a check payment. Create a policy for staff members to follow when posting payments.
  • Examine the payment types listed in your practice. Determine if there are other types that you would like to add or existing types you want to delete, and then make those changes.
  • Train the appropriate office staff to split payments by family members. Decide with your team whether you want to make that the default setting.
  • Determine which split method, such as FICO, you want to set as the default split method, and adjust the settings to reflect it.
  • Create a policy about the notes you add to patient payments. Decide what notes you want to enter when you split a payment by family members, and train the appropriate staff members to enter those notes each time they use this feature.

Learn More

Read “Splitting payments” in the Dentrix help files to learn more.

To learn about posting integrated credit card payments with Dentrix Pay, visit https://www.dentrix.com/products/eservices/dentrixpay or watch the Dentrix Pay Quick Start videos.


By Rodney Merrill, Henry Schein Curriculum Development Specialist

Originally published in Dentrix Magazine, Fall 2017