Using the Patient Payments Tool in the DrChrono EHR
Patient Payments is your portal to post all non-insurance payments in the DrChrono EHR. The Patient Payments tool allows you to execute the following functions:
- View patients with an outstanding balance
- View patients with a balance within a certain dollar range
- View patients with unallocated payment
- View payment allocations
- Add new patient payments
- View the patient payment log
- View payments associated to appointments
- View statements and history of sent statements
- Generate and/or print receipts
- Export payment information to spreadsheet
- Patient Payments: Payments made directly by the patient in the form of credit, debit, check, cash, etc. These payments are non-insurance payments and include copays, pre-payments, or a direct payment toward an outstanding balance.
- Unallocated amounts (or payments): An amount that was received but has not been applied toward a product or service.
- Balance: The amount due or owed on a single account. The patient balance would include all amounts designated as patient responsibility by an insurance payer or all charges if the appointment is cash pay.
- Line items: A general term to include all aspects of the patient balance such as charges (CPT/HCPCS/Custom Codes), payments, refunds, discounts, contractual adjustments, etc.
Familiarizing Yourself with the Patient Payments Tool
To access the Patient Payments tool, mouse over Billing in your navigation bar and select Patient Payments (Beta).
Within the patient payments tool, there are five primary tabs: Payments, Line Items, Logs, Statements, Balance.
- Payments - This is where you can see a patient's appointment balance, payments made, unallocated payments and current patient responsibility amounts.
- Line Items - This tab will allow you to see line item detail (Date of Service and CPT/HCPCS/Custom Code) as well as the allowed amount, patient responsibility, patient payments made, any pending insurance balance and the patient's balance.
- Logs - This tab will allow you to see a history of payments posted, moved on the patient's account. This could be helpful in researching a payment or issue.
- Statements - This tab will allow you to see what statements have been generated and sent to the patient, as well as giving you the option to view/print the statement.
- Balance - This tab will allow you to search for patients with an appointment balance/patient responsibility or unallocated amount between parameters that you select.
How to post a patient payment
- There are 2 different ways to post a patient payment in DrChrono:
- From the Patient Payments (Beta) section
- From the Patient's appointment window
The process to post a payment in each of these 2 areas is very similar. Which you use is going to depend on your function and which part of the system you are in when you need to post the payment. Each will accomplish the same goal. Detailed instructions for each are listed below but as you navigate through them, you will see that the screens will look the same and function in the same way.
Posting from the Patient Payments (Beta) section
Navigate to Billing > Patient Payments (Beta) and follow the steps below:
1. Click on the Payments tab and enter the patient name in the respective field and click on Update.
2. Select the patient and their patient payment tab will open. It will display all payments received, along with any unallocated money the patient currently has on their account.
3. To add a payment, click on the green + Add button
4. A New Cash window will open so you can enter the payment details.
- Payment Date - The date you are posting the payment
- Appointment - You can use the drop down to assign the payment to a specific appointment, or if you leave it blank the payment will be added to the patient's unallocated payment section to be used at a future time/future visit.
- Line Item - If you select a specific appointment to apply the payment, you can specify which line item (CPT/HCPCS/Custom Code) that the payment should be applied to. Any charges on the specific appointment will show in the drop down.
- Provider - this line designates the provider for the specific payment. It can be left blank if you prefer.
- Payment Method - this is to identify the type of payment (cash, check, etc)
- Type - this is to specify the type of payment.
- Credit - payment on the account
- Refund - an amount is being refunded to the patient
- Correction - used to correct a previous posting error
- Copay/Coinsurance - used to identify the payment as a copay/coinsurance
- Other - used for situations not specifically mentioned above
- Notes - this section is used to document the check/money order number or any other details about the payment that could be useful later. Information listed here can come in handy if any research is needed in the future regarding the payment.
5. Enter the payment details and click on Add.
6. The payment will now be visible on the patient's account. If it is not applied to a specific appointment, it will show as unallocated (marked in red). If it is attached to a particular appointment and/or line item, the information will show in the spots marked by the blue boxes.
- You can also use the red/gray bubbles as a visual to see if a patient's payment is unallocated or fully allocated. The black arrow just to the left of the red/gray bubble will expand and show you additional details regarding how the payment was applied. This is especially useful when the payment has been applied to multiple appointments. The number within the red/gray bubble will tell you the number of appointments the particular payment was applied.
Posting from the Patient Appointment window
Posting a patient payment from this screen will be very convenient when accepting copays and other payments for that date's services while checking the patient in for their appointment.
1. From the appointment window, select the Billing tab.
2. Click on the blue + on the Patient Payment row.
3. A New Cash window will open to allow you to enter the payment details. Once entered, click on Add.
Viola! You just added a payment to the patient's appointment!
Moving Patient Money from unallocated to an appointment
You can move money from a patient's Unallocated Payment section to an appointment.
NOTE - These screen shots are from the Billing > Patient Payments (Beta) screen. The same radio button is available in the patient's appointment in the Live Claims Feed should you need to move money while working with the patient's appointment from that screen. It works the same way as outlined below.
1. To move money from Unallocated Payment and associate it to an appointment, click on the circle over on the right of the payment amount, sometimes referred to as a radio button.
2. Once you click on the radio button, a Move Cash window will open. This will allow you to select the appointment and the line item (CPT, HCPCS or Custom Code), as well as the amount to transfer.
- For the example below, even though the patient has $25 in their unallocated cash, we can choose only to move $5 or $10 of it and leave the remaining in unallocated, or use it for a different appointment.
- To change the amount, just click in the box on the Amount line and adjust to fit the situation.
3. Once all fields are filled in, click on Move and the system will move the payment as you have requested.
Moving money from an appointment to a patient's unallocated
If there is an overpayment on a patient's account, you have the option of holding the payment in a central location for a future visit. The money will appear as a flag (green highlighted and will appear on the left of the screen) to alert you that the patient has unallocated funds.
- An overpayment could happen if a patient paid a copay for the visit but when processed by the insurance company, they did not assign a copay for the visit, thus creating an overpayment on the appointment. You can move this money to the patient's unallocated to hold for a future visit.
For this example, we can see that the patient has overpaid the appointment. The charge was $150, however the patient paid $175, resulting in a $25 overpayment or credit on the account. We can move this $25 to their unallocated so it can be used for a future visit.
1. To move it, just click on the radio button (small blue circle) to the right of the patient payment. It's highlighted in green below.
2. Once you click on it, you will see a Move Cash window. It is showing you that the appointment has a $25.00 credit ($-25.00).
3. Click on the black down arrow to the right of the Appointment line. It will show you a list of the patient's appointments (both with a balance (unpaid) and without a balance (paid)) as well as giving you an option to select unallocated/no appointment.
4. Select Unallocated/No Appointment, which is at the very top of the list.
5. Next, select the amount of money to move from the appointment to the patient's unallocated. For our example, we would want to enter $25.00.
6. Click on Move to complete the transaction.
7. Now, in the patient's appointments in the Live Claims Feed (Billing > Live Claims Feed), there is a green flag on the left of the screen to alert you that the patient has unallocated money on their account.
8. If a portion of the credit is moved to an appointment, the flag will update in real time to show you how much is left in the patient's unallocated fund. If the entire amount is allocated to an appointment, the flag will update to read:
Moving money from unallocated to the appointment while in the Live Claims Feed
When you are working on patient appointments, you may notice that a patient has money in their unallocated that would either pay off or pay towards an appointment. You can easily move the money while in the appointment in the Live Claims Feed. Here's how:
1. Click on the Dollar sign on the line item where you would like to apply the patient's unallocated money.
2. A Fill Line Item window will open. It will list all available payments that are included in the patient's unallocated amount. If separate payments were made or if they were made on different dates, they will be listed separately.
- You can select which payment to use by clicking on the check box to the right of the payment
Or you can click on the box next to the word Available and the system will apply the amounts from top listed down, until the amount due on the appointment is met. As shown in this example, only $125 was owed by the patient, so only $125 was taken from the $150 unallocated payment. The remaining funds will stay in the patient's unallocated fund.
Once you have selected which payments to use, click on Apply and the system will make the updates.
** Pro Tip ** There are a few settings within DrChrono that can help to automate this process. Once enabled, the system will automatically apply any available unallocated funds as well as moving the appointment to status Paid in Full when there is no patient or insurance responsibility. Please reach out to your Account Manager or support for details on how they work and how to turn it on for your account.