Entering Advance Payments

An advance payment is entered in SOS as an undistributed payment or as an unapplied payment. Either way, you record the payment in the system so that it will be available in the future when eligible service charges are created.

As an example, let’s say that you receive a referral for a forensic evaluation from an attorney agree on a retainer of $1.000 and make an appointment for the client’s evaluation on a date two weeks in the future. A few days go by and the attorney’s check for $1,000 arrives in the mail.

  1. If the attorney or law firm does not already exist in your payer list, the first step is to add it.
  2. Because the payment is meant to be used for a specific client, we should also create a patient account for that person, if we have not already done so.
  3. Add the payer created in step one as a non-insurance payer on the client’s account.
  4. Open a new payment transaction, selecting the client as the Patient.
  5. Select the appropriate attorney or law firm as the Payer.
  6. Select the Credit Type as Check and create and select the new check.
  7. At this point, no services have been rendered yet so there are no charges to which we can apply the payment. To save the unapplied $1,000 on this specific patient account, check the Keep unapplied amount on this credit box to the right of the Amount Unapplied field and save the credit entry. This $1,000 check payment is now available to be applied to any future charges on this specific account.

    On the other hand, if you save the credit without checking the Keep unapplied option, the credit payment amount will revert to zero, but the payer’s check will recorded as undistributed. That undistributed $1,000 will be available to apply to any patient account for which this payer is responsible. The effect is exactly the same as if you had followed the alternate procedure described just below.

Recording a payment for future use without entering a zero dollar credit

There is a more direct way to record an advance payment from a payer for future use on any of a payer’s accounts. Perhaps your organization receives an annual grant from a charitable foundation to provide mental health services for eligible needy patients of some sort. In that case we would just record the check or electronic transfer. To do so:

  1. Create a new non-insurance payer (Billing Lookups > Private Payers) or open the payer if it already exists.
  2. The payer’s detail form includes Voucher tabs for all types of payments. If the payment is a check, for example, you would select the payer’s Check Vouchers tab.
  3. Create a new voucher for the grant check.
  4. Save the voucher.
  5. When an eligible patient is identified, add the charity to the patient’s list of non-insurance payers and save the patient. You will now be able to select and pay future charges using the undistributed voucher you previously saved as a voucher (step 3) when it arrived.

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