Growing Your Practice

FAQs Answered: Monthly Patient Billing

patient billing

Updated 4/7/2023

Open Dental’s Patient Billing feature (Manage Module, Billing button) is designed for monthly patient billing. This is separate from the Walkout statements you print for your patients. This is a monthly billing process you can run to send statements out to all your patients based on criteria you select. For complete instructions, please visit our manual, or click to watch the webinars below.

We have a series of webinars on Billing – see the playlist here.

Here are a few FAQs on Patient Billing in Open Dental

How do I set a due date for my patient billing statements?

Go to Setup, Preferences. There is a category for Billing Statements. You can also use the Search to quickly find a preference.

To set a due date, enter a number in “Days to calculate due date”. Enter how many days from your statement date you want the payment to be due.

For patients with payment plans, enter a number in the preference “Days in advance to bill payment plan amounts due” to show the payments as due a certain number of days before their actual due date.

I went to Manage, Billing but I get a list, and can’t get to the “Billing Options” window – what can I do?

This window opens when you’ve already got bills (or statements) that were created, but never sent. This may have been done previously from the Billing window or from an individual account. If you want to send the statements, click Send. Otherwise, click Close. You will be asked if you want to delete the existing bills. Once you’ve deleted the list, you can click the Billing button again to see the Billing Options screen and create new bills.

What is the Account History Date Range? Does this limit who shows up on the Billing Bist?

The Account History Date Range determines how much of a patient’s account history (ledger) shows up on their billing statement. This date range does not affect who shows up on your Billing List. Open Dental defaults to 45 days  – in other words, any account activity the patient has had in the last 45 days will show on their bill.

I’m not seeing the people I’m expecting to see on the list – what could be causing this?

In the Billing Options window, take a close look at what is selected on the left, in the “Filter” section. Options selected here determine who is included in your billing list. Patients must meet all of the conditions set in the Filter to show up in the Billing List. For a complete explanation of each of the Filter options, click here. To make it easier (and more consistent) next time, once you’ve selected the filter options you want to use each month, click the “Save As Default” button below. When you run your statements next month, only the date at the top will change, you won’t have to worry about what other filter options to select!

TECH TIP: The “not billed since” date at the top does not default to the last time you ran your billing. It will always display a date that is 1 month before the date you are viewing this window. If you’re viewing this window on March 7, 2023, it will show a “Include anyone not billed since” date of  3/05/2023. Change the date as needed to reflect the date of your last billing run. Make a note on your calendar of the date each time you run billing

I created my list. What’s the difference between the Print List button and the Send button?

The Print List button will only print the list of patients that meet the criteria to receive statements. If you’d like to keep a list handy to see who was billed during a billing cycle, this is a great way to do that.

The Send button generates individual statements. It generates a PDF for patients who are set up to receive a statement by mail – just print the PDF and mail. If patients are set up for email statements, it will email statements to those patients. If you are transmitting all patient statements electronically to a third-party vendor, it will transmit the information to the vendor you have identified.

TECH TIP: The number of pages in your PDF will likely not match the number of patients on your list. This is because patient statements may be more than one page.

I want to send anyone who has a balance a “catch-up” bill. How can I do this?

Once you know your Billing Options are correct (see above), change the date at the top to yesterday’s date, and click Create List. Anyone that meets the criteria and hasn’t been billed since yesterday will appear on the list.

How can I see statements that were sent on a certain date/date range?

First, create your Billing List, then in the upper-left corner, change the radio button to “Sent”. In the upper right, enter a date range, then click Refresh. All patients who received a statement within those dates will display. If you’d like, you can use the Print List button below to print the list.

We’re accepting online payments now – how can I let my patients know?

In the Billing Options window, you can enter a General Message (box in the lower right) that will be printed on every patient’s statement. If you have messages that are specific to patients with a certain account aging (over 30, over 60, or over 90 days, for example), use Dunning Messages.

I’d like to send statements electronically. What are my options?

1. There are a few vendors that are integrated into Open Dental for electronic statements.
Dental X Change
Statements transmitted to third parties are intermingled by default (all family members on the same statement). Any questions about this, or statement format or appearance, please contact the vendor.

2. You can send statements via encrypted email to patients that have an email address.

ALERT! Because Open Dental is connecting your office’s email into the program, you need to be sure you’re using encrypted email before you start emailing statements.
If you’re not sure, check with your IT or do your research – in some cases, it may just be a setting that needs to be turned on. Regular email is not encrypted and therefore does not meet HIPAA requirements. Statements include Protected Health Information (PHI) which must be transmitted securely in order to comply with HIPAA regulations.

Once you have made sure your email is encrypted, take the following steps:
a)  Set up your email in Open Dental.
b)  Go to Setup, Definitions, Billing Types. Double-click to open each Billing Type that should receive an email statement, and enter an E for email statements.  If the patient does not have an email entered, a PDF of their statement will be generated for you to print/mail.

When you create your Billing List, the Mode column will show how the statement will be sent
Mail: A PDF will be generated which can be printed and mailed.
Email: A statement will be emailed.
Electronic: Statements will be transmitted to a third-party for processing.

Generating your patient billing on a regular schedule will help you stay on top of your patient receivables, and give your practice the cash flow it needs to keep growing. To make sure you’re tracking all your revenue, check out our post, Tracking Revenue: Reports for Every Stage of the Cycle

Need help troubleshooting a billing issue or error message? Feel free to chat or call.

2 replies »

  1. When I create a list in billing, patients that I know have a balance do not appear. The list is usually empty as a matter of fact. What am I doing wrong?

    • Hi Judy – our support team would be happy to remote-connect and take a look to see what may be happening. Please give them a call at +1 503-363-5432. Thanks!

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