Your list of routine daily, weekly and monthly activities must occur in a timely fashion. At times, this list can feel long and overwhelming, but is necessary to maintain order and optimal operations within your dental practice. Some of these routine activities may include, but is certainly not limited to: scheduling management, lab case management, determining patient financial readiness through insurance verification, review of unscheduled treatment plans, reports analysis, patient reactivation through recall and unscheduled lists. This list could go on and on and on.
The management of your practice accounts receivable is one of the most important responsibilities within the practice. It is not a task for the faint of heart. It often requires select dedicated team member(s) with a solid track record for success and strong standard operating protocols for managing unpaid patient balances.
I have been brought into offices time and again with the request to review accounts receivable processes and implement new billing protocols – and the scenario is often the same. A short displacement of the dental practice’s standard billing operations has led to a situation where patient billing is not being processed with the regularity and efficiency that it requires. Due to the lack of focus and efficiency, the office has found that their aging totals are increasing from month to month.
So, whether you are looking to turn your accounts receivable actions around or you want to maintain your excellent numbers with added efficiency, you will find yourself benefiting from our conversation today. The processing of your routine actions for patient billing is one of many routine activities that truly benefits from efficiency and structure. Which leads to the Easy Dental tool with just the efficiency and structure you may need to boost your patient collections:
The Collections Manager
Accessing the Collections Manager
You can only access the Collections Manager from the Reports module. When you are in the Reports module you can either click the Collection Manager icon on the toolbar, or use the short cut keys, Alt +C.
Mastering the Options within the Collections Manager
It is important to know that each time you open the Collections Manager, the options used during the previous session will be selected.
In the screenshot above, the default Collections Manager options are shown above. At first glance, the options for filtering the Collections Manager may feel overwhelming, but after a quick review you will see just how simple the filter options are:
- Guarantor Selection – This selection is great should you want to focus your collection efforts on a group of the alphabet per session. You can group the alphabet by the Guarantor’s last name, for example, grouping last names beginning with A-M and N-Z in separate collection lists may reduce the amount of time spent during each collections session.
- Billing Type Selection – Grouping by account (billing) type will give you the ability to streamline your collections processes. For example, your collection efforts for the ‘No Insurance’ billing type may be far simpler in comparison to your ‘Dual Insurance’ billing type category. Also, the ability to eliminate balances which have been outsourced to a collections agency will greatly reduce time spent in reviewing accounts.
- Provider Selection – You may filter the Collections Manager by the Prov1 assignment in your Guarantor’s patient information file. This feature is ideal to use in multiple doctor practices where accounts receivable may be split.
- Skip Accounts with Claim Pending – Now here is a filter you do not find on the Aging Report. With skip accounts with claim pending, you can quickly focus your efforts on unpaid patient balances as by eliminating all balances which are estimated to be paid by the insurance company. This is a great option when you have strong protocols for frequent follow up on unpaid insurance balances using your Insurance Claim Aging Report.
- Min (Minimum) Balance – Exclude small patient balances from the report and set your sights on a minimum balance of $5.00, $10.00 or even $20.00.
- Last Payment Before – Use this filter to catch patients who are not making routine payments. By setting this date back 30 days, this will result in a list of Guarantors with a last payment received more than 30 days ago.
- If Not Billed Since – This filter is used to find accounts that have not received a billing statement since the date you indicate.
- Last Visit Before – Enter a last visit date to produce a list of balances on accounts with a last visit date prior to your indicated date. NOTE: this date filter only looks at the Guarantor’s last visit date.
- Previous Contact Entry Before – Contacts is the premier location for documenting conversations with patients. Use this filter to find patients whom you have not attempted to contact.
- Payment Agreements & Future Due Payment Filters – These two filters allow you to focus your efforts on accounts with missed payments where a Payment Agreement is in place. Also, you can choose to filter accounts with or without payment agreements and/or future due payment plans.
- Minimum Days Past Due – Identify accounts with balances that have on the account for more than a specific time frame. NOTE: Aging of accounts will occur during the Month End Update. Not processing your Month End Update will render this filter unusable.
- Insurance Minimum Days Past Due – Filter your accounts receivable for accounts with insurance claims that are still outstanding past the indicated time frame.
- Show Totals – Check this box to include totals for the Collections Manager list you produce.
- Show Columns – The show columns options window (shown immediately below) allows you to personalize the columns of data you include on your Collections Manager report. The included columns on the right will display on your report, while the available columns on the left will not display. I have included a sampling of selected columns (right side, shown below) as a basic starting point for your first Collections Manager list.
Discover the Onscreen Functions Available in the Collections Manager
From producing collection Quick Letters to accessing Accounts Notes to the documentation of a Contact entry, the Collections Manager contains nearly every function your accounts receivable manager needs to operate efficiently and effectively. The Collections Manager includes a toolbar to provide easy access to most of the Collections Manager tools. Here is a snapshot of the toolbar functions from the Easy Dental Help menu:
I encourage you to explore the functionality that the Collections Manager has to offer. The advanced capabilities for filtering your accounts receivable into focused groups will streamline your patient billing processes. Tell us about your accounts receivable successes. Join the conversation below with any questions or comments on the Collections Manager tool.
David Broom is Senior Director of Product and Business Development. David has a master’s degree in Information Technology (IT) from the University of Texas in Dallas and has more than 35 years of experience from many global companies such as Hitachi Vantara, Methode Electronics, and Keane, Inc. In his current role, he is responsible for all aspects of the product management and field service teams at Henry Schein TechCentral, which identifies the ideal advanced technologies to meet the unique needs of the dental market and ensure that dental offices are using the right IT to be more efficient and effective.