If you want to collect money up-front for a patient all you need to do is take a payment without allocating it anywhere.
To do this just go to the patient's chart and:
- Click on the (+) button in the top-right corner of the patient's billing block (just like you would if you were adding a charge outside of an encounter) **
- On the pop-up window that comes up, click the Add Payment button instead of searching for a charge.
- In the payment window, add the amount of the payment and select the payment method. If there are open charges that have not been paid do not apply the payment to them unless you are trying to pay them off as well as collect the deposit at the same time. If you'd like, you can assign a Credit Pool name (something like "Deposit for Visit") if you want to make it obvious what it is for.
- Use the green button at the bottom of the form to process/save the deposit. If you get a warning about not allocating the payment hit OK and continue.
The patient should now have a standing credit that can be used for a future service or product. When the patient comes in for services, go ahead and add charges as normal, and one the charges are added you can click the (+) button one more time but this time click the Apply Credit button (which should be yellow now). Select the deposit on the left side and apply it to the new services shown on the right. Once you've allocated the deposit to your satisfaction, click the green button to save the allocation. If the patient has any remaining balance you can now pay it off as normal.
**NOTE: Some practices also prefer to pre-create the Encounter note and add the deposit inside the note for clarity's sake. Either approach is fine, and both require the allocation step once other charges are added.