Tips & Tricks

Tips & Tricks #26

In this tips & tricks post, we will discuss ways to restrict scheduling for specific patients, how to clean up (merge) duplicate patients in your database, and what to do if your secondary claims are being denied by your clearinghouse because they need item level adjustments.

I want to mark a patient so they can’t be scheduled – how do I do this?

Maybe a patient has a long-standing unpaid balance and is in pre-collection or collection status. Maybe they’ve been a no-call/no-show for their appointments too many times. Whatever the reason, If you want to prevent scheduling there are a few options:

Option 1:
In the patient’s Family Module, double-click in the Patient Information area to open the Edit Patient Information window. Restrict scheduling by setting the patient status to Inactive.

If you try to create a new appointment for a patient with an Inactive status, you will get this warning:

Option 2:
Check the Appointment scheduling is restricted box at the top of the Edit Patient Information window.

If you try to create a new appointment for a patient whose appointment scheduling has been restricted, you will get this warning:

Better yet, automate this process!!! 

Set up Automation with the Billing Type trigger. When a patient’s billing type is changed to Bad Debt-Collections, for example, the patient will automatically be set as restricted for scheduling. Let’s set up this Automation.

  • Go to Setup, Automation.
  • Click the +Add and name your Automation (we named ours Restrict scheduling for Collections Billing Types).
  • Set the Trigger as SetBillingType.
  • Click the + and add Conditions. Since both our collections billing types have “Bad Debt” in the name, we’ll select Contains, then type in Bad Debt in the text field. This way, if a patient’s billing type is changed to a billing type that contains the term “Bad Debt”, their appointment scheduling will be restricted.
    Click OK to return to the Edit Automation Window.
  • Next, set the Action. Select PatRestrictApptSchedTrue to restrict scheduling when a patient’s billing type is set to one that matches the conditions.
    Our completed Automation rule looks like this:

    TECH TIP:  Create another Automation rule to automatically undo the scheduling restriction when the patient is no longer in collections. Repeat this process, but select the Standard billing type, and then set the Action as PatRestrictApptSchedFalse. When the patient’s billing type is set back to Standard, their scheduling restriction will be removed.

See our webinar: Automation in Open Dental or read more in our online manual.

How can I clean up duplicate patients in my system?

Duplicate patients can be merged together in Open Dental. Follow these steps:

  1. Figure out the patient you want to “keep” – this is the one with the most current info. Jot down their patient ID number – this is the number that displays at the top of the window with the patient name when that patient is selected. You can also find this at the top of the Edit Patient Information window. The duplicate patients I discovered were named John Benson and Jon Benson. John Benson is the one that has complete address and insurance information and the most historical data. He’s the one I want to keep. I’m going to note his patient ID number, 366.
  2. Go to Tools, Misc Tools, Merge Patients.
  3. Click Change and select the patient you want to keep – in our example, this is John Benson (Patient ID 366). This patient will show as the Patient to merge into.
  4. Click Change in the lower half of the window and select the duplicate patient – in our example, Jon Benson. This patient shows as the Patient to merge from.
  5. Click Merge. Because their first names and birthdates don’t match, the system will pop up a warning:
  6. Once you say Yes, the system will confirm that the patients have been merged successfully.
  7. After merging patients, take a look at the Family Module. If both patients had insurance, you may end up with two insurance plans, like we did here:

    We will need to determine which insurance is current. Once we know which one we need to drop, double-click to open that one, and use the DROP button.

I’m having issues with secondary claims being denied by my clearinghouse because they “need item level adjustments.” What do I do to prevent this?

You’ll need to turn this option on in Family Module Preferences.
  • Go to Setup, Family / Insurance, Family Module Preferences.
  • Under Coordination of benefits, Send Paid By Other Insurance, select Procedure Level or Both.
    ** If you don’t see this option, you will need to update your software.

We love sharing tips & tricks with you, and hope these will help save you time and effort! If you have a question or need to troubleshoot an issue, we are here for you.

There are several ways to reach our support team:

  • For a quick answer to a simple question or help finding the right info or resource: Chat with our support staff.
  • If you need to troubleshoot an issue and would like us to remote connect with you, please give us a call at 503-363-5432.
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