Remember the last time you got a new car? You were excited to sit down, spend some time and learn how to set it up to best fit you. You may have adjusted the seat and mirrors, pre-set the radio stations, connected your phone through Bluetooth, entered your home address for GPS and programmed your garage door opener.
Dentrix Ascend also needs to be set up to work specifically for your dental practice. Although there are endless customizations you can create (add procedure codes to your heart’s content), we have a handful of specific recommendations to get you on your way:
- Tighten your Transaction locking
- Turn on Auto Post PPO Write-Off
- Set up fee schedules for insurance plans and set insurance defaults
- Set your adjustments to impact production or collection
- Decide the adjustments you will use to bring over AR – and the impact on doctor comp reports
- Consider how you pay your providers (on production or collection, with any exclusions) and create the appropriate reports
- Limit user rights appropriately – especially regarding Settings
Let’s review each recommendation:
Tighten your Transaction Locking and Turn on Auto Post PPO Write-Off
Located in Settings, Ledger Options, Ledger rules, these defaults need to be changed.
Transaction locking defaults to 120 days – this allows backdating in your system and we recommend that you tighten this to less than 5 days. Here is an article for more detail: Locking the Transaction Date.
The Auto Post PPO Write-Off option defaults to off – however, by turning this on it will provide you the most accurate calculation of net production and accounts receivable. Here is an article for more detail: Auto Post PPO Write Off Impact.
Insurance Set up
Located in Settings, Insurance Defaults, this needs set according to your billing preferences. This is also the time to gather and enter all insurance fee schedules so that patient treatment estimates are accurate. This will facilitate entering payments when the estimates are accurate on the front end.
One note: if you set up your Insurance Default for Billing Provider to the location (as is often the case when billing out under a Type II NPI), then you must checkmark the insurance carriers underneath Location Information.
Set your Adjustments to Impact Production or Collection
Keeping in mind how you pay your providers, your next step for customization of Dentrix Ascend is to set each adjustment so that it impacts either production or collection.
To understand the logic and default setting for each adjustments, please review this article: Common Adjustments.
One area to consider in particular is how you will bring over accounts receivable from your legacy software. Since we do not convert AR (due to the fact that Dentrix Ascend ledgers are based on line item accounting and most existing server-based software is not – and the conversion would cause confusion in patient accounts), most practices will work down their AR in their legacy software until they are ready to bring over the patient portion only.
Our recommendation for setting up these adjustments:
Initial balance forward – default to production
Initial Credit balance forward – default to collection
If your practice pays providers on production, then in the doctor compensation report we would exclude the initial balance forward adjustment from that report so we would not overpay providers.
If your practice pays providers on collection, then we would use the applied collection report.
Consider how you Pay your Providers and Create the Appropriate Reports
Many practices pay their providers on collections or net production without any modifiers. Others exclude certain x-rays or products sold in the practice from provider compensation. Now is the time to consider how your providers are paid and what report best reflects the numbers you want to use.
For practices that pay providers on collections, here is an article that you may be able to use that includes specific instructions: Pay on Collections.
For practices that pay providers on net production, here is an article that you may be able to use that includes specific instructions: Pay on Production
Let’s say you want to exclude specific products or x-rays, then in either of these reports, you can add the fields of procedure code and procedure description – and then filter to exclude the codes that your providers do not receive credit for.
Limit User Rights Appropriately
Be thoughtful around who should have what rights in the software and create user roles to protect the security and setup of your software, reference: Security Rights.
You are welcome to set up your Dentrix Ascend software and use it any way you like. If you are looking for recommendations for setup, we hope this article is helpful for you. And, if you'd like to work with an Ascend trainer, here's a link to order training hours: https://fs9.formsite.com/hsps/training/index.html
(Published by J. Alldredge and J. Nesbitt 2019- updated 2021)