Growing Your Practice

Patient Payments: Allocating Made Easy!

Starting in version 17.3, Open Dental makes allocating payments to outstanding charges easier than ever!
(Updated to include webinar published 2/14/18, and to update payment button description to include the newly added option to “Prefer this patient” when creating a patient payment.)

Allocating payments to procedures prepares your practice for growth, provides more robust reporting, and helps avoid possible over-collection.

What’s different?

  • When you click the payment button to accept patient payments, you will be prompted to enter the payment amount. The “Prefer this patient” check box will tell Open Dental to prioritize outstanding charges for selected patient first, before considering older charges for other patients in the family.
  • The patient payment window has been enhanced. Outstanding Charges are listed instead of Family Balances so you can easily identify outstanding procedure, adjustment, and payment plan charges and allocate them appropriately. 
  • More allocation and workflow options: You decide what kind of allocations your staff needs to make, and opt to have Open Dental do the work and suggest allocation pay splits for you. See Patient Payment Preferences in the manual to determine what’s right for your practice. 
  • Unallocated pay splits: When a patient makes a prepayment, or pays more than the patient portion due, Open Dental will automatically generate an ‘Unallocated’ pay split to designate unearned income.

Why the change?

  • We want to make it easier for you to follow good allocation practices. Allocating payments to procedures will allow you to easily track provider income, track and measure true profitability, analyze where the money is coming from, and identify what charges have and have not been paid for.
  • Your Open Dental reports will be more robust and detailed. Overall, you will have a better idea of how to manage and grow your practice.

What are the benefits of allocating patient payments?

  • Save time, and boost efficiency.
    Set up Open Dental to automatically suggest pay splits to procedures based on first in, first out (FIFO) logic. Previously, creating these splits was a manual and time-consuming process.
  • Track unearned income and easily allocate later (e.g. prepayments.)
    Unearned income will be easily viewable in the Account module, and can be quickly allocated to procedures as they are completed.
  • A complete receivables picture.
    You will have a complete picture of all monies received for each completed procedure (from both insurance and from patients). When insurance payments are received by procedure, insurance collections are allocated at the procedure level, but that’s only part of the collections equation. Allocating patient payments by procedure provides a complete picture of income for each provider and procedure.
  • Track income and production by provider
    Paying providers based on collection or production is easier than ever! Having a complete collection picture allows you to easily calculate how much to pay each provider based on production and income/collection.
  • Provider Production and Income (P&I) reports are more accurate
    Provider P&I reports will now reflect both insurance AND patient income at the procedure level. This is especially important as your practice grows!
  • Avoid over-collections, over-payments, and patient refunds.
    Estimated patient portions will be more accurate because you will have a complete picture of what is, or is not paid.

How do I get started?

See Patient Payment Preferences in the manual to understand and set preferences to have Open Dental automatically suggest allocation pay splits. If you need help troubleshooting allocations, please give us a call.


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