Growing Your Practice

Funding Unscheduled Treatment with Tax Refunds

tax refundsYour #1 priority is getting patients the care they need and get it sooner rather than later, so small issues don’t turn into big problems. Even with dental insurance, affording treatment can be a challenge for your patients, forcing them to postpone care until they can manage the financial impact. Enter, their tax refunds. A study from JP Morgan Chase Institute found that consumer out-of-pocket health-care spending jumped 60% one week after receipt of tax refunds. This means now is the time to contact your patients to schedule planned treatment before it requires more significant (and even more costly) intervention.

The tools you need are ready and waiting for you so your patients get the care they need, and you fill your schedule.

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.

TECH TIP: You may have already created a customized end-of-year letter. If so, select that letter, then click “Duplicate” and edit the text for tax refund season – you’re ready to go!

2. Run the Treatment Finder Report

Go to Reports > Standard Reports. In the Lists section, select the Treatment Finder report. By default, patients without insurance and patients with existing appointments are excluded from this report. You’ll want to also include patients without insurance.

Use filters to refine the results for patients treatment planned after a certain date, limit to specific clinic or providers, or only for specific procedure codes. 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 fund needed care with their tax refunds, and you fill your schedule!

Need more information on this process? Take a look at our web manual page, then give us a call if you need help – we’re here for you!

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