Do You Have the Right Medical Billing Software for 2011?

December 29th, 2010 by Joann Doan

Happy New YearAs we enter 2011, many of us assess our lives and what we want for the New Year, and some make resolutions to improve or change things. This makes perfect sense—and I’d like to suggest that you do this not only for your personal life, but also for your practice or business. And this includes your medical billing software.

What do you want for 2011?

Most business owners and professionals want to be successful and to better serve their patients or customers.

Will your current medical billing software take you where you want to go? Does it enable your success and allow you to focus on practicing medicine instead of on billing issues?

To answer these questions, ask yourself the following things:

  1. Is my medical billing software as user-friendly as I need it to be? Many programs are designed for larger practices, and if you have a smaller practice or a medical billing service, it may not be the right fit for you, even though it’s well-known. With all the choices available to you, make sure the software you’re using fits your needs. There’s no reason to settle for anything less these days.
  2. Is my medical billing software as accessible as it should be?  As you can tell from Microsoft’s “To the Cloud” ad campaign, the current trend with software is to go web-based. And the reason for this is that it makes so much sense: no software upgrades to pay for, no servers to maintain, fewer security and HIPAA concerns, and you can access it from any computer. If you can’t access your data anytime, anywhere you need to, then your software is holding you back.
  3. Do I get the reports I need from my medical billing software? You should be able to slice and dice your data any way you need to in order to assess the productivity of providers, profitability of various services, payers that need to be “fired”, etc. If you can’t quickly and easily get the reports you need, it’s time to look around—many software programs offer excellent reporting options, and some, like Kareo, offer the ability to completely customize your reports or download data to Excel for further analysis.
  4. Can I get the supporting data from my reports easily? Your app should allow you to easily drill down to supporting data in order to find the underlying causes for issues. If you can’t click through from a report to the data, it’s time to rethink your software.
  5. Is my medical billing software affordable? There’s no longer any need to pay exorbitant amounts for software, especially with web-based models. The idea of paying tens of thousands, or even thousands, of dollars for medical billing software is outdated. Don’t pay more than you need to!
  6. Are there additional fees for your medical billing software that you don’t need to pay? Don’t buy into the idea that you need to pay set-up fees or training fees. Many providers, including Kareo, require no set-up fees and don’t charge for basic training and implementation. If you’re looking at software that includes these outdated fees, look elsewhere.
  7. Does the contract include outrageous demands? As I wrote in this blog on Tuesday, some vendors require medical billing services when terminating to notify their own customers that they can continue with that vendor. And they require that customers promise not to “disparage or denigrate” their product. Do you want to be looking over your shoulder every time you give a colleague or customer an honest opinion about the software? There’s no reason to put up with these heavy-handed tactics with all the options (and better ones, at that) available to you.
  8. Does your medical billing software include insurance eligibility verification? This important tool can save you $2.95 for every verification, according to the AMA. Be sure to get and use this valuable tool for reducing denials, as it will save your staff hours on the phone and virtually eliminate denials for lack of coverage.
  9. Can you reduce or eliminate the amount of paper in your office with your medical billing software? Everyone wants to be more green these days, and one excellent way to do that is to reduce the amount of paper in your office. You should have the option of being able to scan and store, or receive from clients and other medical practices, nearly all of your documents. This will not only reduce storage, but also the amount of time it takes to locate a document. And with apps such as Kareo, you can click through to documents right from the patient record—a tremendous timesaver.
  10. Does your medical billing software offer free EMR? If your office or clients are looking to implement an EMR, you will want to consider an integrated solution. And if you want to save significantly on your EMR, you can choose a free option such as Practice Fusion, which is integrated with Kareo to provide the lowest-cost option in medical billing and EMR software.

These are just a few of the questions you need to ask yourself as you prepare your practice or business for 2011. With the continued threat of Medicare cuts, the implementation of ICD-10 looming and ongoing challenges from payers, you need the very best tools in your toolkit. Make sure your medical billing software is the right one for your needs for 2011. And if you’d like to hear from your colleagues how well Kareo fits their needs, please visit our Reviews page.

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In the Medical Billing Software World, Maybe They’re Not So Advanced

December 28th, 2010 by Joann Doan

We had an interesting experience last week here at Kareo: One of our customers, who was kind enough to record a video testimonial about how much they like Kareo medical billing software and how it’s helping their business, was forced by a competitor to ask us to remove the video and related information from our website and YouTube.

Why, you ask?

Because in their video, our customer talked about their previous vendor, how the service didn’t meet their needs and how much that service cost them.  It seems the vendor has a clause in an addendum to their contract stating that customers “will not in any way disparage or denigrate” the vendor’s names or trademarks.

The fact that the vendor has that clause in their contract makes me wonder:

  1. Why do they need such a clause? Are too many people finding that the service isn’t a good value?
  2. Why don’t they believe in freedom of speech and the open competition of the marketplace? Are they afraid of head-to-head comparisons with newer systems such as Kareo?

That clause alone is enough to make me scratch my head, but there’s another one that also gave me pause: Billing service customers who terminate are required to notify their clients that the client can continue with the vendor without the billing service. If I were a billing service owner, that wouldn’t make me very happy. After working so hard to bring clients on board, if you decide to use another medical billing software, you’re required to give your clients the option to desert you? That doesn’t seem like something an advanced biller would do willingly.

Needless to say, Kareo does not have either of these clauses in our terms of service, or anything remotely similar. We also don’t require any long-term contracts or have any cancellation fees. In fact,  Kareo has just revised our customer agreement to shorten it and make it easier to understand. Instead of being 17 pages like our competitor’s, our new agreement is 4 pages and designed to be extremely clear and customer-friendly. We’re posting the new agreement to our site as this is being written.

We believe in providing an affordable, easy to use service to our customers, and if we don’t, they have the option to choose another solution without penalty or threat of legal action. We’re proud to say nearly 99% of our customers choose each month to continue using Kareo.

You may have seen some postings on various forums with complaints about Kareo from time to time. We read these posts, too, and our approach is to solve the problems that generate them. That’s why we’re hiring Customer Support staff faster than at any period in our history, and we improve and update our software every six weeks. We think that’s a much better solution than threatening legal action.

Don’t you agree?

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In the Medical Billing Software World, Maybe They're Not So Advanced

December 28th, 2010 by Joann Doan

We had an interesting experience last week here at Kareo: One of our customers, who was kind enough to record a video testimonial about how much they like Kareo medical billing software and how it’s helping their business, was forced by a competitor to ask us to remove the video and related information from our website and YouTube.

Why, you ask?

Because in their video, our customer talked about their previous vendor, how the service didn’t meet their needs and how much that service cost them.  It seems the vendor has a clause in an addendum to their contract stating that customers “will not in any way disparage or denigrate” the vendor’s names or trademarks.

The fact that the vendor has that clause in their contract makes me wonder:

  1. Why do they need such a clause? Are too many people finding that the service isn’t a good value?
  2. Why don’t they believe in freedom of speech and the open competition of the marketplace? Are they afraid of head-to-head comparisons with newer systems such as Kareo?

That clause alone is enough to make me scratch my head, but there’s another one that also gave me pause: Billing service customers who terminate are required to notify their clients that the client can continue with the vendor without the billing service. If I were a billing service owner, that wouldn’t make me very happy. After working so hard to bring clients on board, if you decide to use another medical billing software, you’re required to give your clients the option to desert you? That doesn’t seem like something an advanced biller would do willingly.

Needless to say, Kareo does not have either of these clauses in our terms of service, or anything remotely similar. We also don’t require any long-term contracts or have any cancellation fees. In fact,  Kareo has just revised our customer agreement to shorten it and make it easier to understand. Instead of being 17 pages like our competitor’s, our new agreement is 4 pages and designed to be extremely clear and customer-friendly. We’re posting the new agreement to our site as this is being written.

We believe in providing an affordable, easy to use service to our customers, and if we don’t, they have the option to choose another solution without penalty or threat of legal action. We’re proud to say nearly 99% of our customers choose each month to continue using Kareo.

You may have seen some postings on various forums with complaints about Kareo from time to time. We read these posts, too, and our approach is to solve the problems that generate them. That’s why we’re hiring Customer Support staff faster than at any period in our history, and we improve and update our software every six weeks. We think that’s a much better solution than threatening legal action.

Don’t you agree?

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Can Your Medical Billing Software Help Protect You from the False Claims Act?

December 23rd, 2010 by Joann Doan

The number of False Claims Act investigations is increasing rapidly, as you will see from the article below by healthcare attorney Robert Liles, who specializes in this area. While this understandably raises questions on compliance, staff training and management and other key areas, another important consideration is medical billing software.

If your medical billing software allows you to enter and report on actual vs. contractual payments, you have an important first line of defense against this increasingly vital issue. And if you can do it quickly and easily, that helps insure that it will be done regularly. Plus, you need to be able to review individual patient payment history to check for secondary insurance payments, etc.

And of course, regularly reviewing the report of actual vs. contractual payment amounts also helps you to insure that your practice is being paid everything it has earned.

Fortunately, Kareo offers all of these tools; to learn more about how Kareo allows you to quickly and easily manage your fees and contracts, visit this section on our site. For more information on the growing number of False Claims Acts investigations, please read the valuable article below.

Number of False Claims Act Investigations Being Pursued is Currently at an All Time High . . . and is Likely to Go Even Higher Due to Changes to the False Claims Act Under Health Care Reform

By Robert W. Liles, Esq., Liles Parker

Robert W. Liles, Esq. owns a private law firm, Liles Parker, which focuses on fraud defense, internal audits, compliance, and regulatory matters. Robert serves as General Compliance Counsel for the American Medical Billing Association.

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We’ve Added to Your Medical Billing Software Support Team!

December 22nd, 2010 by Joann Doan

As promised, we are taking a number of steps to improve your overall experience with Kareo. In order to better serve you and support your medical billing software needs, we have added specialists to help you set up Kareo in your office and to enroll your practice or business with your payers. We have also added staff in the main support area — look for more information on that in upcoming blog posts.

Kimberly-Ann ManiegoMeet Kimberly-Ann Maniego, a recent University of California, Irvine (UCI) graduate who received a degree in Political Science.  Kimberly is a new Implementation Support Specialist here at Kareo and she does it with ease considering her 3 years in customer service.  Kimberly says what she really respects about the company is that “it truly cares about its relationship with its customers.” Furthermore she loves that she can be “the voice that maintains customer relationships.”  When she’s not helping customers at Kareo, Kimberly is not only an active dancer and choreographer for 3 hip hop teams, but is also the coordinator for competitions and performances.

Kendra Jordan Prior to being an Enrollment Support Representative for Kareo, Kendra Jordan worked for a Workers Compensation company doing medical billing and has been in customer service since 1998.  Kendra likes the fact that at Kareo she is able to do what she likes, which is helping people with their problems.  In addition to that, she thinks her “co-workers and the product are awesome.”

Kendra attended Concorde Career College for Medical Assisting, graduating with a 4.0 GPA. During her free time she likes to spend quality time with her son, reading a good book or playing video games.   

Christina LuuOur next Enrollment Support Representative is Christina Luu, who received her Bachelor of Science Degree in Health Care Administration from the California State University of Long Beach.  She did research on Kareo before becoming a part of our team and came to find that “Kareo is consistently working to expand its resources for the clientele and improve its services.”  Additionally Christina says that she is “always learning something new about the industry” that she never came across in her studies.  Christina is interested in a wide array of activities from enjoying musical theater to engaging in outdoor activities such as snowboarding and rock climbing.

Welcome to all our new Customer Support staff — we know you will find them helpful and informative, and that your Kareo support will continue to improve with the addition of this experienced help.

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Welcome to Building Kareo, a weblog by the team at Kareo about our products, our partners & competitors, medical billing, healthcare information technology, and much more.

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