We subscribe to multiple medical billing and medical billing software blogs, as some of you probably do too. And we were interested to see one today from Millenium Medical Billing, which was on the topic of “How to Choose an EHR/EMR” but included a section on medical billing software.
After reading their blog post, which was fairly informative, we wanted to add a few points, which you will find below with the original post:
Research the billing package.
The EHR is only part of the purchase. Discuss the billing package of your new system in detail.
Must-haves in billing software:
CPT and ICD-9 codes updated yearly. You want a system that automates this process. Most cutting-edge billing software will automatically update codes every year with a download.
Kareo comment: We agree that CPT and ICD-9 codes should be updated automatically annually. But what about other updates? Kareo web-based medical billing software is updated every 6-8 weeks, and the updates are at no extra cost – they are included in the subscription. Best of all, the updates don’t require any work on your part – it all happens at Kareo and is automatically downloaded to you.
Automated statements will save you time and money. Most vendors offer this service at a discounted rate compared with postage. You will get to take advantage of the bulk discount rate.
Kareo comment: We agree, and would add that you should make sure your patient statements are clear and easy to read. Kareo customers have told us that using our patient statements has significantly reduced the number of phone calls they get from patients with questions about their statements. Make sure the automated statements you’re getting are clear and easy to read.
Automated verification of benefits is a big plus for family practice or internal medicine groups. The patient benefits are downloaded into the system. Copays and deductibles are easily identified and save staff hours of time. Your copay can be as much as 30%-40% of your income on an exam, so this is a significant benefit to your practice.
Kareo comment: Automated verification of benefits is an invaluable tool, so we agree this should be a key point on your checklist. But make sure the eligibility verification is easy to use and provides all the information you need. Kareo’s eligibility verification only requires a few pieces of data in order to submit the verification request, and provides valuable information on number of authorized visits left. Make sure this tool is easy to use so that your staff will use it every time.
Rejected claim reports. Most vendors will tell you that they have a “claim-scrubbing process.” The software scrubs the claims for several different factors, and therefore reduces error. This is true to some extent. Invalid CPT codes and ICD-9 codes without the fifth digit are screened by this process as are claims with other basic coding errors. The most important factor in billing software is the ability to load LCD or CCI edits and specific carrier-required modifiers.
Kareo comment: Again, agreed: claim scrubbing and rejected claim reports are vital to making sure you’re on top of all your claims. We also recommend a home screen like Kareo offers, that lists all your rejected, no response and “needs follow-up” items at a glance, making sure that your staff never loses track of a single claim. This handy screen eliminates the need for color-coded reports and sticky notes, and you can set follow-up triggers based on your contracts and preferences.
Electronic posting of payments. This service is a real time-saver. A 20-page EOB from Medicare can be downloaded in seconds. The software posts all payments, adjustments, and rejections. You receive a report of all postings for review.
Kareo comment: Couldn’t agree more. In fact, see this recent video testimonial about how Kareo’s electronic posting of payments has helped save time and make life easier for office manager Reina Perdomo.
EDI transmission reports are extremely important to your billing success. Investigate how the company reports provide you with a list of claims transmitted. Carrier errors and rejections should be easy to access. You will also want proof of timely filing to be at your fingertips.
Kareo comment: EDI transmission reports are indeed extremely important to your billing success; also invaluable are reports on rejections. Once your claims pass Kareo’s internal validation, we forward your claims through one of several clearinghouse partners who also review your claims and return daily reports that highlight claims that have been rejected for various payer-specific reasons. That way you don’t have to search through reports to find rejection explanations.
Kareo comment: What we also found interesting on this list was what’s missing. We also strongly recommend the following features in your medical billing software and practice management software:
Contract Management Report – As you can see from the chart above, payers have been found by the AMA and other industry monitoring groups to fall short of their contracted payment amounts. The AMA found one practice in Chicago that was losing $100,00 per MONTH from shortfalls in contracted payment amounts. Kareo makes it easy for you to compare the actual amount you are paid to your contracted amount, so you can make sure you’re getting every dime you’ve earned.
Key Performance Indicators Report – As the famous saying goes, “You can’t manage what you don’t monitor.” You need an easy way to monitor how your practice is doing, how various providers are performing, how well each biller is functioning, and how different procedures are contributing to the bottom line. Kareo makes this easy with not only an “At a Glance” KPI report on the home page you can view based on month, quarter and annual views, but customizable reports you can have emailed to yourself and others on a scheduled basis.
So as you can see, we agree on many of the points; we just don’t think most medical billing software provides everything you need. That’s why there’s Kareo. Take a look today at this archived demo webinar that explains how Kareo helps make medical billing easy.