It is all about reports!

Aug. 11, 2010

By Laci L. Phillips

Have you ever noticed the events that take place in your life and the “things” from those events? This month some “things” keep grabbing my attention. Those things are reports and the fabulous numbers, statistics, and data we learn because of them. If you are the business owner or business leader, there are several reports out there you should not only be aware of, but should be running regularly.

Let’s start with the four reports every office should be running.

Insurance aging report —
Some of you may be saying “Duh, Laci!” But I guarantee some of you are saying “What?” I know you are saying that because I have been in your practice. The insurance aging report grabs statistics on every insurance claim that has been created and sent but not paid, therefore closing out the claim.

Let me explain. When you receive a reimbursement check from the insurance company, you MUST open the claim and attach the payment to the claim to close it out. I know, I know, “Duh again!” But there are a few offices that still need to know this. If you send e-claims, I recommend running the report twice a month.

Next report — Procedures not attached to insurance (may not be called this in all practice management programs). This report goes out into cyberspace and grabs all procedures that were posted in the office, but not attached to a claim form. The procedures are compiled into a report for you to then go back and attach to a claim. Money is lost weekly on procedures offices have done but not collected on or sent to insurance for reimbursement. That is why I recommend you run this report weekly.

Third report —
Claims not sent or pending. This report goes out and grabs all claims that were created but not actually sent. How could this happen, you ask. Perhaps you created a claim form but needed additional information before sending it, such as an attachment or a narrative. The claim is pending while you get the information, but then you get busy and it may be forgotten. I also run this report weekly.

Final of the four reports — How much and who owes you money. When you receive a reimbursement check from insurance and attach the claim, if there is a balance after write-offs (if applicable), send a billing statement to your patient. Also, send bulk patient statements once a month.

That is a great start to reporting if you are a team member, but what about those business reports? We as business owners should be tracking some stats as well. I believe every dental office owner should be looking at the analysis of the practice report. This should include daily, monthly, quarterly, and YTD production, collection, and adjustments. I also want to see a breakdown of the procedures we are doing in the office, such as how many PFM crowns we did last year and what percentage of our practice it was. This report should also be able to break down our monthly goals — where we are now and where we need to be.

All of these reports are great and found in most practice management programs. Remember that I talked about events and timing earlier? In the next report I learned a great deal this week. Lois Banta and I had the great opportunity to work with Debbie Castagna and Virginia Moore this week. We had a crash course in profit and loss statements, annual planning, and forecasting the dental office as a business. Wow! If you have not met with your consultant for your analysis and practice forecast, you’re missing a huge piece of the puzzle.

And finally, I’m on a plane to New York City as I write this. I’m going to NYC to work in practice management programs and mine data. This data includes specific dental codes that were completed for patients three to five years ago, and whether or not those patients are still in the practice today. This is huge! What a great concept! We should all be tracking these stats!

I could write an entire article on just the last two reports because I barely touched on those. For now, become very familiar with the first four reports. And take a look at those events happening in your office and life right now. Perhaps there is an article there for you.

Laci L. Phillips is the senior practice management consultant and a professional public speaker with Banta Consulting, Inc. of Grain Valley, Mo., as well as the Director of Partnering Sponsors with SCN. While going to college in southern New Mexico to pursue a life of communications, Laci was introduced to her first job in the dental industry as a chairside assistant 18 years ago. Her experience in the dental office as a chairside assistant up through the ranks as an office administrator enable Laci to connect with her audience and her clients. As a team and software trainer and a team builder, Laci has an effective way of teaching the entire team how to move in the same direction, while working as an individual. Through Banta Consulting, Laci provides her expertise to dental practices, both large and small, across the country and internationally. Laci lives in New Mexico with her husband and two children, and can be reached by e-mail at [email protected].