The Dentrix Blog

Helping You Do More with Your Dentrix System

When thinking about the patients in your practice, some of them might have blended families. You’re going to need to handle those unique family situations within Dentrix. This blog post focuses on different ways of handling those family situations.

Establishing Head-of-Household

The first thing to be aware of is that the person set as the Head-of-Household in the Dentrix Family File is the person to whom billing statements will be sent. This is especially important to consider for blended families, to avoid awkward situations. For example, if a husband and wife are divorced, you will want to take care in where you send the statement. The Head-of-Household can be changed in the Family File.

Updating Insurance Subscribers

Children of blended families may have insurance through more than one subscriber. It’s important to know which subscriber is considered the primary and the secondary for each insurance company. Often times, the Birthday Rule will apply, meaning whichever subscriber’s birthday comes first in the year is the one that is considered the primary subscriber. For example, if Mom’s birthday is in April and Dad’s is in November, then Mom would be considered the primary insurance subscriber for the child.

If the insurance subscriber is not a patient in your office, it is important to assign the subscriber a Non-patient status in the Family File to avoid Dentrix counting them as an active patient and therefore skewing your practice’s active patient numbers.

Merging and Separating Families

You may have the need to merge families in Dentrix, as well as separate them. This can be done in the Family File by clicking Edit > Edit Family Relations.

You will need to merge families together in the following cases:

  • A Family File was created for a patient whose family are already patients.
  • Two patients in your practice get married and need to be joined as a family account.

You will need to separate families in the following cases:

  • Husband and wife divorce and require separate accounts.
  • An adult child moves out and requires a separate account.

It’s important to note that accounts in Dentrix are family accounts so any patients requesting separate accounts should be separated into their own Family File.

Those of you who have been using Dentrix for a long time, may remember that separating and combining families had to be done while everyone was out of Dentrix. I’m pleased to say that is no longer the case. However, the family can’t have any outstanding claims or pre-estimates.

Also, it’s important to remember that individual patient balances will be affected when combining and separating families, which means if your office posts payments to the Guarantor and not the individual patient, the patient balances may become inaccurate.

Knowing how to manage family relationships in your office is important because over the life of your practice, changes will happen in your patients lives, and you need to know how to handle those changes within Dentrix.

By Charlotte Skaggs
Certified Dentrix Trainer and The Dentrix Office Manager columnist

Charlotte Skaggs is the founder of Vector Dental Consulting LLC, a practice management firm focused on taking offices to the next level. Charlotte co-owned and managed a successful dental practice with her husband for 17 years. She has a unique approach to consulting based on the perspective of a practice owner. Charlotte has been using Dentrix for over 20 years and is a certified Dentrix trainer. Contact Charlotte at [email protected].