If you use integrated merchant services via Bluefin in Cerbo, you can set any charge in your Charge List to be automatically charged to the patient on a set interval. Payment can be set to be automatic as well, or manual (for patients that prefer to receive an invoice or pay by check). And you can even group family members' subscriptions all under one payor's account, so that one automatic payment is taken that applies to all participating family members.

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Set up the Subscription Charge

Before you can set up a subscription, you will need to add the charge to your Charge List. Please note that you cannot apply discounts to subscription payments that are run automatically. If you want to run a subscription at a discounted rate, please create a new entry in your Charge List that corresponds to the modified amount. Also, ensure that entries in your Charge List are named uniquely to avoid errors. And for better documentation, we recommend creating a new "Subscriptions" charge category in your Charge List.

Adding a New Subscription Plan

In the patient's Billing block, click where it says [None] after Subscription at the top to add a new subscription for that patient.

Next, enter subscription details:

  1. Search for, and select the subscription charge using the search box. This searches your Charge List.
  2. Set how frequently the patient should be charged using the "How often should this be charged?" drop down menu.
  3. Set the start date of the subscription. This will be the date when it is first charged, and the subscription will recur on the same day of the week/ month/ year etc. in future subscription intervals. This can be set from the 1st through the 28th of the month.
  4. Select the owner of the subscription. Charge "ownership" determines who is credited for these subscription charges in billing reports.
  5. Select whether the subscription payment should process automatically (via the primary payment method on file for that patient) or manually. A manual subscription will generate an outstanding/ unpaid subscription charge, which would then be paid manually.

The patient's subscription begins on the specified start date. If the subscription is set to start on the same date it was added, it should run within the hour. The cutoff for same-day subscriptions is 8pm in the local time zone set for the EHR. If you are adding a subscription after 8pm, the earliest start date will be the following day.

When the subscription runs, the system first adds the specified charge to the patient's account. If the subscription is set to run automatically, it then attempts to process a payment via the primary saved payment method on file for that patient. The system checks hourly if there are subscriptions to run.

  • If a patient has more than one saved payment method, they system will charge the default (starred) payment method. You can change the default (starred) payment method in the Patient Information window, under Billing.

To see when the next subscription payment is set to occur, hover over the subscription level at the top of the billing block and a window will appear with the recurring date listed.

You can link one patient's subscription to a family member's subscription, or to a "master" subscription that you have set up for a payor group, using Grouped Family/ Small-Business Subscriptions. This would make it so that dependents' (or participating employees') subscriptions were all billed as one single payment to the payor's default credit card on file.

Subscriptions by Patient Age

For clinics that charge different subscription amounts based on the patient's age, the patient's age is displayed in the Active Subscriptions List found under Reporting > Recurring Invoices > Active Subscriptions. Anyone with a milestone birthday within 2 months (or a different interval of your choice - this can be set by request) will have a birthday cake icon shown beside their age. If their birthday is one that corresponds with a new subscription plan, you would manually update that in the patient's chart.

Processing Manual Subscription Payments & Failed Automatic Subscription Payments

Subscriptions that are set to process manually, as well as automatic subscriptions that fail (due to no card on file, card declined, etc.) will show up under Reporting > Recurring Invoices > Overdue Recurring Charges.

  • To process a subscription from this list, click on the Pay Manually button to the right of the charge. That will pull up the Add Payment window, where you can record a check payment, for example if the patient has paid separately by check, or manually process a credit card payment. Adding a payment directly to the patient's chart, and applying that toward an outstanding subscription charge, will similarly close out the Overdue Recurring Charge and remove it from this list.
  • Failed automatic payments will be retried 3 times a day (7 hours apart) for 2 weeks. If the payment still does not succeed, the charge will remain, unpaid, in the patient's account, and the entry will remain in the Overdue Recurring Charges list unless/ until it is either Voided there or paid manually. Additionally, a notice will appear in the System Tasks block at the top right of the Schedule page.
  • Voiding an invoice marks that charge as voided in the patient's account. But does not cancel the subscription, which will run as of the next billing interval.
  • If the primary credit card on file is updated while the payment is still retrying, it should process successfully upon the next attempt.

Whether a subscription charge remains unpaid, is voided, or is paid manually does not affect the underlying subscription. The subscription will run as of the next recurrence interval unless/ until the subscription is cancelled.

Editing or Cancelling a Patient's Subscription Plan

To edit or cancel a subscription, click on the subscription title in the patient's Billing Block.

  • To cancel the current subscription, click "Cancel This Subscription". 
  • To edit a subscription, first cancel the current subscription, then re-add a subscription with the corrected information.

Once cancelled, if you would like to refund the patient for all or part of the last subscription payment, right-click on the words "Credit/ Payment" for that payment in the patient's billing history, and select Refund Options.

Active Subscriptions & Active Payment Plan Reporting

You can view all active subscriptions, and active payment plans, under Reporting > Recurring Invoices. Click on any column header to sort by that column.

Export your Active Subscriptions or Active Payment Plans list to CSV (spreadsheet), or send it to the Advanced Patient Search (for further searching/ sorting) using the options shown at the top right.