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Your One-Stop Post for Year-End/Start-of-the-Year Tasks

Year-end-start-of-year tasks

UPDATE: 1/6/2020

Happy 2020! The new year is officially here, and you’re off and running! We hope this is a great year for your practice, and we’re here to help you smile with a one-stop-post for all your start of the year (and year-end) tasks.

Here’s a list of what’s in this post. Click on a topic to jump to that section.

Things you can take care of right now:

Things to do at the end of the year/start of the new year:

Send End-of-Year Letters to Patients with Remaining Insurance Benefits

To contact patients with insurance benefits remaining and get them scheduled for their treatment planned procedures, use the Treatment Finder Report. Go to Reports> Standard> Treatment Finder (in Lists section).

Some helpful resources:

Check out the blog post: Benefits_End-of-Year-LettersHow to Send End-of-Year Letters to Patients with Remaining Insurance Benefits. Want to send these end-of-year letters as a mass email? While this is currently not supported in Open Dental, the post has details on this as well – scroll to the end for tips on this.


Create Pay Periods

If you run out of pay periods, you’ll notice that people are clocking in, but nothing’s showing up.

Some helpful resources: 

 Time Card Setup Manual Page

time card  Time Cards and Time Clock FAQs

To add pay periods, go to Setup> Manage> Time Cards, then select to Add One or Generate Many pay periods.

Update/Edit Schedules

It’s important that schedules are set up at least 6 months out for recall scheduling, Web Sched, etc.

Go to Setup> Schedules to update schedules and copy them forward. See more on our Schedule Setup manual page.

Update/Cut-Copy-Paste Blockouts

Similar to copying schedules forward, you may want to copy blockouts forward as well.

Setup> Definitions> Blockout Types allow you to set up, edit, and reorder Blockout types.

Right-click on the schedule and use the Blockout cut-copy-paste function to copy, and again to paste or repeat forward (by days or weeks) the Blockouts you have copied. It’s a good idea to create a “template week” then copy/repeat that forward a certain number of weeks. If Replace Existing is checked, it will overwrite any Blockouts you already have on the schedule.

See more on our Blockouts manual page

Reset/Renew Insurance Benefits

Great news – this is done automatically in Open Dental!

Benefit Years must be set up correctly. In the Family Module, double-click to open the insurance plan, then double-click into the Benefit Information window to make sure the Benefit Year is set up correctly. (If you’re looking by plan, go to Lists> Insurance Plans, then open the plan, and double-click into the Benefit Information.)

Open Dental defaults to Calendar for the Benefit Year (January – December)

If an Insurance plan runs on a Service Year (starts in a month other than January), the Benefit Year must be set up correctly.
Uncheck “Calendar” and enter the start month, September in this example.

If your patient has insurance benefits that roll-over into the next year:
Let’s say the patient has $400 of benefits remaining, and the plan allows that to be rolled over into the next plan year.
You can use the Adjustments to Benefits feature in Open Dental to enter the roll-over amount.

1. In the Family Module, double-click to open the patient’s insurance.
2. In the upper right next to Adjustments to Insurance Benefits, click Add.
3. To enter a benefit amount to roll-over into the next year, enter the amount as a negative number. This will tell the system to add this amount to the patient’s available benefits.

Set Lock Dates

More good news – there’s no need to close out the year in Open Dental! 
However, there are a few options if you want to “lock” the information to prevent edits to historical data.

If using Accounting in Open Dental, lock accounting entries by going to Manage> Accounting> Lock, then enter the lock date.

More on our Lock Accounting Entries manual page

To set Global Lock Dates to prevent changes to historical data, go to Setup> Security> Security Settings

More on our Security Lock Dates manual page.

Run Reports

Reports can be run anytime. Typical year-end reports include:

Update Fee Guides (Canada)

If you are a Canadian practice, you will need to download the updated fee guides for your province. Follow the steps listed on the Canada Fee Guides manual page. Fee guides are published to this page as they are made available, so check back often for updates.
NOTE: Check with your province for the effective date of your fee guide.

Update Fee Schedules

You may want to increase your fees at the start of a new year.

Some helpful resources:

  Fees Increase manual page

  QuickTip Video: Updating UCR (Office Fees)

We recommend this process be done after you’ve seen your last patient of the year, and you’re ready to use new fees for anything being charted. Take these steps to increase fees in your fee schedule.

Step 1: Go to Lists> Procedure Codes and bring up the existing office fee schedule (Standard in this example).

Step 2. Create a new fee schedule, Normal Type, name it Standard_2019Archive

Step 3: Copy the data from the existing fee schedule into the newly created fee schedule using Fee Tools.

Close windows – compare Existing fee schedule (Standard) with Archive fee schedule just created/copied (Standard_Archive2019). Numbers should match – success!

Step 4: Using Fee Tools, increase fees in the existing Office Fees Fee Schedule (Standard) – in this example, increasing by 3%, rounded to the nearest dollar.

Step 5: If you want to update all fees in active treatment plans, go to Fee Tools, and run the Global Update Fees tool. (If you honor quoted rates for a certain length of time, wait until that period is over, then update. You can always click the “Update Fees” button in the patient’s treatment plan to update one at a time.)

Normally, the Global Update Write-offs can be used at the same time as Update Fees. HOWEVER, if you are a large practice, running Global Updates on Write-offs can cause slowness and take several hours to complete. We recommend the Global Update Write-offs tool be run after hours.
NOTE: If only the global update fees tool is run, updates to any write-off calculations will occur when that patient’s appointment, account, or treatment plan is accessed. However, any report or query on treatment planned procedures that also includes write-offs or patient portions will not be accurate.

See more on our Global Update Fees manual page

Update CDT Codes

Each year, the ADA releases updated CDT codes. These are typically released in our last software release of the year. Since the new CDT codes cannot be used on claims until after January 1, we recommend you update your software and your CDT codes as soon as possible in the new year.

Some helpful resources:

Procedure Code Tools manual page
Before updating CDT Codes, check to make sure you’re on the Open Dental version that includes the new codes. 2020 CDT codes are available in versions 19.2.57 or 19.3.36 and greater.

QuickTip Video: How to Update Your CDT Codes

To update CDT codes, go to Lists > Procedure Codes > and Tools. The D codes tool will be checked by default – click Run Now.
Do not run any other tool in the Procedure Code Tools list.

Congratulations on another year of bringing smiles to so many! We want to keep you smiling as you click through that to-do list. Please contact us if you need help troubleshooting any of these tasks. And once they’re done, take a moment to celebrate, you deserve it.

Categories: Your Software

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