Patients often delay care because even with insurance, the cost of care can be a drain on their financial resources. The JPMorgan Chase Institute recently released a report that shows patients are more likely to spend money to get the care they need during tax refund season, with spending peaking in March.
Now is the perfect time to communicate with your patients who have unscheduled, treatment planned care. Timely communication lets your patients know that you care about their oral health. Educate patients so they understand that delaying care can turn small issues into big problems with much higher costs.
You’ve likely created a special end-of-year letter that you use in the fall to let patients know they have insurance funds remaining that they can use for care. You can do the same thing now! Create another letter for your patients emphasizing the importance of not delaying needed dental care. Run the Treatment finder report in Open Dental, and merge it with the new letter – voila! The letter reaches your patients before they receive their tax refund. You can then follow-up with a phone call or text.
Ready to get started? Here’s the 4-step process:
1. Create Your Customized Letter
To create your customized letter in Open Dental, go to Setup, Sheets. Select the Patient Letter Tx Finder Letter, Copy it to the Custom side. The sample letter includes patient-specific fields for insurance remaining, and a list of treatment planned procedures. Open the letter and edit it to suit the needs of your practice. New to editing sheets? Watch the Sheets Customization webinar.
2. Run the Treatment Finder Report
Go to Reports, Standard. Under Lists, select the Treatment Finder report. By default, patients without insurance and patients with existing appointments are excluded from this report.
Use filters to refine the results for patients treatment planned after a certain date, limit to specific clinic or providers, only show specific procedure codes, or patients with remaining benefits over a specific dollar amount. Once you’ve entered the criteria, click Refresh List.
3. Create the “Tax Refund Season” Letters
Option 1: Create merged letters inside Open Dental.
Once you have a list of the patients that meet the criteria you’ve specified, select the patients you want to create letters for, then click the Letters Preview button in the lower left of the window, and select the end-of-year letter you just customized, to create merged letters.
Option 2: Use mail merge in another program like Microsoft Word.
Export the list as a .txt or .xls file, and use that as the source for the mail merge.
Option 3: Use a standard letter for all patients and print mailing labels out of Open Dental.
Select the patients you want to create labels for, then click the Labels Preview button to view the labels before printing.
4. Print and Mail the Letter to Your Patients
Once the preview comes up for your letters or labels, just hit print, and get those letters out in the mail! For merged letters, after you print, you’ll get a pop-up asking if you’d like to save the letter. Click yes to save a copy in your patient’s chart.
It’s truly a win-win! Your patients get the care they need with their additional tax refund income, and you fill your schedule!