Patient Communication

How to Send End-Of-Year Letters to Patients with Remaining Benefits

Benefits Fall is in the air, and it’s end-of-year letter time. Your patients may not be aware that their benefits expire at the end of the year, or that they will lose any remaining Flexible Spending Account benefits they haven’t used – and you want them to get the care they need. This post will review the built-in tools in Open Dental to make this process painless for everyone. Ready? Here we go!

1. Create Your Customized End-of-Year Letter

To create your end-of-year letter in Open Dental, go to Setup> Sheets. Select Patient Letter Tx Finder, then click the ‘Copy’ button to move it to the Custom side. This 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 this video:

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 End-Of-Year Letters

Option 1: Create merged letters inside Open Dental and print.
Once you have a list of the patients that meet the criteria (from Step 2), select the patients you want to create letters for, then click the Letters Preview button in the lower-left of the window. Select the end-of-year letter you just customized, and create merged letters.
TECH TIP: Click & drag to select multiple patients on the list. If selecting patients that are not adjacent, hold down the Ctrl key while you click to select.

Option 2: Use mail merge in another program like Microsoft Word or use a third-party email service to send a mass email (more details on this below).
Simply export the list from Step 2 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 and use the benefits they have available, you fill your schedule and end the year on a high note!

Need more information on this process? Take a look at our online manual page on this process, and let us know if you need help – we’re here for you 🙂

Looking to send a mass email to your patients?

We are often asked about mass emails through Open Dental. This is not supported through Open Dental. We recommend you use a third-party email service any time you do a mass email campaign (read more here). There are several affordable third-party email service providers to choose from, including MailChimp (we use them for our user newsletters), Constant Contact, or Campaign Monitor.

Please note: If you have questions about the third-party email software (creating the letter, inserting merge fields, uploading lists, etc.), please contact the software vendor.

To send a mass email of end-of-year letters using a third-party email service, take the following basic steps. 

  1. Create your letter inside the third-party email provider’s software, including any preferred merge fields for insurance amount remaining, etc.
  2. The Treatment Finder Report does not include email information, so you will need to copy & run Query number 1111 from our Query Examples page.
    Watch this video for exactly how to do this!

3. Use the list you exported from Open Dental as the data source for your email campaign.

Please note: If you have questions about the third-party email software (creating the email campaign, inserting merge fields, uploading lists, etc.), please contact the software vendor.

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