Monitoring with Office Codes
Remember the “ticks” we used to use (and maybe still do) to add up how many patients were seen last year who had root canals, or how many patients came every three months for their periodontal maintenance appointments? Good news! If you have dental practice software in your office then you can track anything, as long as you can post it to the patients’ accounts.
To be more specific (and depending on what software program you are using), there is a report you can create that prints a list of all the various ADA and office codes that have been posted to patients’ ledgers for any given period of time. This wonderful report shows the number of times the code was used and the dollar amount that was generated.
Why do you need to know this? Maybe you don’t. But maybe you do, and you don’t know it. Remember, “You only know what you know, and you don’t know what you don’t know!”
What is an “in-office” code? It is a code created by you, which means you determine the description of what it means. This code can be posted to an account with no fee and does not generate a claim to the insurance company. It is simply a way of monitoring different things. How many times have you reviewed your schedule in the morning to see patients listed, but you do not know what they are coming in for because there is no service code or note? This is a good reason to use in-office codes. Below are some examples of how you may want to implement these in-office codes.
Issue: A patient comes in because a tooth has a sharp edge after you performed a composite restoration. EVERY patient should have something posted to their ledger when they are seen, so you have a record of them being in the office that day. You have no intention of billing the patient for this service.
Issue: You re-cement a temporary crown for your patient. No fee and no code.
Let’s go a step beyond clinical uses for these codes and think about ways to monitor tasks that should be performed by the business team.
Issue: You would like to know how many calls your Insurance Coordinator is making daily to insurance companies.
Issue: You want to know how many calls were made to past due recall patients.
You can see how simple it is to create and use these codes for anything. Now, how do you extrapolate the information? Let’s say you want to know the following:
1. How much time did your Insurance Coordinator spend last month “dialing for dollars” to insurance companies regarding outstanding claims 15 days and over?
By generating a Production Report from your software that lists all the procedures performed for a specific period of time and by whom, you will have answers to all these questions:
1. Your Insurance Coordinator placed 300 calls to insurance companies last month to follow-up on unpaid claims.
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