Can't Apply Payment to Service

The THERAPIST requires that a payer on a service (Patient, Responsible Party, or Insurance) actually owe at least as much as is to be paid on a service before a payment can be applied to that payer's balance. While this may appear obvious, it is a commonly misunderstood feature of the program.

Part of the difficulty comes about because the future is extremely difficult, if not impossihble, to predict. When a service is entered, there is no way to know how much insurance will eventually pay. Things are made a little easier, at least as far as prediction goes, if the patient has a copayment and if you cannot ask the patient to pay more than this copyment. No one said this was a good thing, only that it made prediction easier: you know exactly how much the patient owes and, hopefully, pays.

If you guessed wrong when setting the various payer fees due in the service, you might be trying to apply a payment for more than is due from that payer. The THERAPIST doesn't let you do that.

Fortunately, all is not lost. There are two ways to make the payments you need to make. The first is to change the amounts owed in the service before attempting to enter the payment. This works great but takes extra time. The other way is to modify the amounts owed at the time you are making the payment. This also works well but is more complicated. In shifting amounts owed between payers, you must be sure that each payer is in balance and that the total of all payer balances is equal to the total fee amount minus the adjustments you may have entered via the Adjustments button on the service.

If you have misapplied an earlier payment, you may find it necessary to delete that payment prior to correcting the service. Instead of deleting the entire payment, you can delete only the payment application. You can get to the applications by highlighting the service and pressing F8 or clicking the View Related button. Alternately you can edit the service, go to the Money tab, and click the Payments button. Whichever method you choose to delete the application, it will result in the applied amount becoming a prepayment which you can apply correctly later.

One way to avoid this type of problem is to never apply patient payments to services until the EOB is received from insurance. The downside of doing this is that it can give misleading (and possible incorrect) income totals from the income-related reports: Income, Income Accounting, and Payroll. More information about how these income reports work is in a related article titled, strangely enough, Income Reports.