We occasionally get asked how to create a purchase plan scenario in Front Desk to help patients pay off high cost items such as Orthotic or Orthodontic treatments.
The most appropriate feature for this in Front Desk is called Future Billing. This function allows you to bill an item and accept part payments over a period of time until the item has been paid for. All of the part payment amounts are held external to the normal transactions in Front Desk and after being processed become due and payable. A specialised report called the Future Income report allows you to view amounts which will be due in the future but may not be present in the current transaction view.
The first step is to actually enable the feature in Front Desk by going to the Advanced tab of System Information and ticking the Future Billing box. Confirm the setting by clicking close. You will then be prompted to save and restart Front Desk for the change to take effect.
To create a payment schedule, select the New button from the Future Billing tab on the patient card. The Create Payment Schedule dialog will become visible as below. Select the Practitioner, Item Code, Total Amount and Date of the service. Then select the Period frequency for payments to be made e.g. weekly, fortnightly, monthly or quarterly. Enter a First Payment (if required) and either an instalment amount (Payment Amount) to be made each payment period or the No. of Payments required.
Click the Next button to proceed. A list with all instalment dates and the amount to be paid will appear. Click Process to continue. Once these instalments have been processed, the list of instalments will be listed in the Future Billings tab, as shown below. Future transactions will stay in the future billings tab until they have been manually processed, at which time they will become active transactions in Front Desk and visible on the patients transaction tab.
Click Edit to change an item and Delete to remove an item. The Schedule function can be used to print a future payment schedule for the patient.
You can process the migration of future billed items to regular billed transactions from an individual patient file, or by processing them from the Statement / Invoices screen.
To process future billings select the Future Billings button
The following Process Future Billings screen will appear. Select a process date from the drop-down box. This will process all future billings prior to, or on this date.
The following screen will appear. To confirm that the future billings items will become current click Yes or click No to cancel.
If you have active future billings in your system it is imperative that you follow this process on a regular basis, commonly once a month. If not, your future billing amounts will not be transferred into the transaction screen to become due and payable.
Finally, The Future Income report will allow you to view any amounts which have been programmed, but not yet processed into the transactions view.
The Future Billing feature is great for creating a plan with your patient to pay off an item which may be too expensive to be paid at once.