What Are You Doing with Your Extra “Leap” Day? Besides Medical Billing, Of Course.

February 29th, 2012 by Joann Doan

So, it’s Leap Day. Once every four years, we get an extra day. The question is, what are you doing with it?

If you’re like most people, you’re working today and either seriously or jokingly cursing the fact that Leap Day is a work day. But in spite of that, you can do something with your extra day: Make a difference.

That, of course, covers a wide spectrum. Here are some random thoughts, and we invite you to add your own in the Comments box at the end:

  1. Make a patient smile today. More than one gets you bonus points.
  2. Improve your practice in some way, whether it’s a new process or a new tool (Yes, like medical billing software. Kareo in particular is a good idea, but you know that from our other posts).
  3. Make a coworker smile today, or make their life easier (which will probably make them smile).
  4.  Set a deadline for something huge, tell people it won’t change and they had better get ready, and then change it. No, wait—CMS has that covered.
  5. Register for our upcoming webinar that will tell you how to qualify and get paid for various government incentive programs for medical practices. (OK, it’s a plug but it really could make a difference for your practice this year.)
  6. Take a moment to tell us what features you would like us to add to Kareo by sending your idea to features@Kareo.com – you can help decide what your Kareo medical billing software looks like in the future.
  7. Vote in our March Medical Billing Tip of the Month contest – the winner will get $250, and you can bet that will make a difference to somebody.
  8. If you’ve been sitting for a while, get up and stretch or take a walk. Then make a point of doing that every day. Sitting too much will kill you!
  9. Take a few minutes to set up your Contract Management Summary Report in Kareo to make sure you are getting paid what you are owed by your payers. Don’t let them keep up to 28% of the reimbursement you’ve earned.
  10. Look up from your everyday work and realize that you ARE already making a difference in people’s lives. With EHR, MU, PCMH, PQRS and all the other vegetable soup, you probably don’t get much chance to recognize that any more. But you are, and we know it.

Whatever you do today, we hope you enjoy it, and we hope Kareo makes it easier and less stressful. Happy Leap Day!

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Is Your Medical Billing Software as Easy as It Should Be?

February 27th, 2012 by Joann Doan

Healthcare providers and practices by now know all too well the value of working smarter not harder. It’s an issue of survival for many, and good luck thriving without it. These days, to do either, practices must find ways to eliminate waste, error and inefficiency by working smarter, not harder. So, how to cut costs and improve collections by making things easier? At Kareo, this is the question that drives our fundamental commitment to making medical billing easy.

But what does it mean? What is “easy” when it comes to medical billing software? How easy should your medical billing software be? What difference will that ease make for the practice?

Is It Easy Getting Started?

Today, “easy” in purchasing and implementing medical billing software has a lot to do with speed. Contract negotiations, hardware and software purchases, installation, setup and training are not at all fast or easy. Kareo simplifies all this with a web-based solution that requires no up-front investment and is designed for easy software-set up and use, including free implementation and training support, a considerable library of online training videos and other resources. Instead of a long-term contract and significant investment, practices pay a monthly fee. Sign up and get started. Easy.

Is It Easy Using the Software?

Can your medical billing software be accessed whenever you need it and from wherever you are? It should be. Is it simple, intuitive, understandable, easy to navigate? Are the processes streamlined and fast? How easily and quickly can you enter a claim, bill it and post payment? Does it do what you need it to do? Does it integrate with other software, like Practice Fusion’s free, ad-supported EHR? Can you extract data to analyze and inform the practice’s business decisions? Is it easy to train new employees coming in to the practice after implementation? Kareo’s customers consistently give high marks in each of these categories.

Is It Easy Keeping the Software Current, Working and Secure?

Servers. Power. Cooling. Floor space. Backup protocols. Licenses. Installation. Security. IT personnel. Contingency plans. None of these are easy… or necessary. The easy way is with web-based software that provides quarterly software updates that are automatic, require no downtime and cost nothing. The easy way is for industry-leading professionals to be responsible for your data with state-of-the-art servers, security and backup. The easy way is having it all out of your office and handled optimally by people who know what they’re doing. These are centerpieces of Kareo’s approach to making billing easy.

Does It Make Running the Practice Easier?

This is the name of the game, of course. Less cost, more collections.

•     Does your medical billing software reduce your costs? Or does it require up-front investment, “setup” fees, purchase of multiple licenses, training fees or hidden fees or costs? Kareo requires none of these, and its monthly fee includes the software, the hosting of data and all clearinghouse services. Some practices report dramatic reductions in their billing costs.

•     Does your billing software make your billing processes more streamlined? Are e-claims integrated? One-click verification of patient eligibility? Anytime/anywhere accessibility? Does your software take advantage of electronic processes? Does it do things faster… and with less (or no) paper?

•     Does your software reduce other costs? Time is money, and streamlined processes will reduce the costs associated with labor, paper… and errors. Kareo’s robust functionality and efficient processes reduce the time it takes to do things, particularly compared to paper-based processes. But Kareo also reduces the time spent contending with billing/coding errors by making it easier to file and process claims accurately.

•     Does it improve the practice’s cash flow? A key reason for medical billing software is so that the practice can bill accurately and get paid quickly. So, is that happening? Does your billing software maximize accuracy, speed of entry and processing and, ultimately, the speed with which your practice gets reimbursed?

•     Does your software limit your financial risk? Long-term contracts and the purchase of licenses, hardware, software and related obligations are all risky investments, given the alternative. The easier way is to sign up, get going quickly, use it intuitively, reap the cost savings and improve accuracy, efficiency and collections… with Kareo’s easy, simple affordable monthly fee and the option to cancel at any time.

•     Does it facilitate business success? Does your billing software allow the easy extraction of data for analysis? Are its reporting options robust and easy to use? With Kareo, reports and extracted data are simple, allowing practices to identify and analyze trends and opportunities.

In medical billing software, “easy” is not a mystery. Faster. Fewer steps. More intuitive. Less paper. Fewer errors. Less labor. More benefits. Less cost. These add up to easy, and billing software should be easy. Which is why Kareo is committed to continuous improvements (not to mention frequent, automatic and free upgrades). Is your medical billing software easy?

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Vote for the March Medical Billing Tip of the Month

February 24th, 2012 by Joann Doan

Vote for your top choice for our Medical Billing Tip of the Month contest!You are the judge for our monthly Medical Billing Tip of the Month contest! Listed below are the three top tips submitted this month (out of the many great ideas we received!). Just read them over and then post on our Facebook page which number is your choice for Medical Billing Tip of the Month. You can also post your choice in the Comments box here on our blog. Either way, be sure to vote before the deadline of Thursday, March 1! The winner will receive a $250 American Express Gift Card and the acclaim of their peers. Here are the candidates:

 

#1 Educate Staff and Patients on Patient Collections

The most important part of billing is education: staff AND patients (in our case, parents, since we’re a pediatric therapy group.) When I verify eligibility and benefits online, I print a copy for the parent and explain deductibles, co-insurance, co-pays, and benefit limits.  We do this both for new patients and for calendar year plans where deductibles re-set on January 1st.

When I need to ask for a payment toward their deductible up front rather than after receiving an EOB affirming the patient responsibility for deductible, they’re not only much more willing to pay, but they pay with a smile.  It’s much easier to collect from an informed patient, especially when they see it in black and white straight from their insurance carrier.

We collected on deductibles this past January from many patients and had no complaints or reservations about paying out of pocket because they’d been informed properly and professionally by us here prior to their visit.

 

#2 Keep a Logbook to Insure You Bill All Vaccines & Labs

Are your Physicians & Medical Assistants charging all the Injections/vaccines/ in-office lab tests that are performed daily? Or is your physician paying for the products used for your patients/staff injections or in-office labs?

Do you keep & review a log of your supply usage? If not, chances are you will find revenue if you start keeping manual logs and start reviewing your product usage.

Here is the process we perform in our office:

We keep a logbook for each medication/vaccination/lab product the practice purchases. Write patient name, date & clinical staff performing the test under the appropriate product tab in the book

1) Have the current logbook available to the auditor for review monthly or weekly of your product usage

2) Review the log and your patients account: was the injection billed, was the administration of the injection billed appropriately was the appropriate DX code linked? Was the finger stick billed/ was the lab draw fee billed?

3) Post-injury tetanus vaccine will pay higher than just a booster tetanus vaccine; link appropriate DX.

4) How about in-office lab tests: lipids. A1c, pregnancy tests, urine tests, PT, etc.?

5) I have found that staff have performed some self tests; our office does allow this, however staff are required to pay the practice for the cost of the product used. Before, we had staff just borrowing products for self use!

6) I have also found that since we started logging office tests in the book, we are now capturing  all charges appropriately for billing.

7) Staff are to enter wastage also. 

I recently reviewed our flu vaccine log and found my staff/physicians & billers missed charging for approximately $6,000! (This revenue was found: staff usage not paid for, missed administration fees, vaccines not entered onto billing ticket so biller never even knew to bill.) 

Keep a tracking log to train staff & physicians to limit errors in the coming months. I guarantee if you start to keep a logbook for supply usage, you will find revenue. 

 

3 Keep Up with Insurance A/R in Kareo

I keep up with Insurance A/R by clicking on

 Reports>

Aging by Insurance>

The AR comes up with the list of insurance companies divided by 31-60, 61-90, or 91-120 days.  

All I have to do is click on any of the insurance on the list and it takes me directly to the patient’s unpaid account. 

I click on the visit and review the account. I can review all the notes that were entered using the action key.  The notes usually let me know the status of the account and whether I need to call the insurance company.

Which one is your top choice? Vote now on our Facebook page or in the Comments box on this blog. You have until Thursday, March 1, to vote! We’ll announce the winner in our March newsletter.

Read More | 5 Comments | Filed in Events, Features

Activating Kareo’s Automatic Phone Call Reminders Feature

February 23rd, 2012 by Joann Doan

Learn how to activate the new Kareo Automatic Phone Call Reminder feature and reduce no show ratesKareo introduced a new feature in our January 20 release: Automatic Phone Call Reminders. Your Kareo software is the hub of your medical billing operation, allowing you to quickly and easily bill for services rendered. Now, with the addition of the Automatic Phone Call Reminders (APCR) feature, your practice can also use Kareo to reduce no-shows and thereby increase revenue.

While this feature is only available out of the box with the Kareo Max plan, the Kareo Basic, Kareo Plus and Kareo Complete plans can all be upgraded to Kareo Max. You’ll learn more about how this feature works in this blog, and you can follow along with instructional video author Mel Aclaro as he explains how to set up the Automatic Phone Call Reminders feature.

With the APCR feature, Kareo automatically dials and delivers computer-generated voice reminders to your patients 24 hours in advance of their appointments. When your patients receive their reminders, they will hear a recorded message that includes the following:

“This is an automated reminder that you have an appointment with your medical practice, scheduled on [day e.g., Thursday January 25th] at [Time, e.g., 12:00 PM]. <pause> Please press 1 to repeat this message, or please call our practice at [Your Practice Telephone Number] if you would like to change your appointment.”

This versatile new feature can be configured in several ways. You may choose whether or not an individual patient receives reminder calls at all, and you may also determine whether the phone call is placed to a patient’s mobile phone or to a home phone number. Kareo’s computer-generated reminder calls are placed at approximately 12:00 noon Pacific Time so that patients in all US time zones receive calls during the same work day the call is generated.

You Customize the Feature

Your Kareo software has a two-step activation process. By default, the program is set up with the Automatic Phone Call Reminders feature in an “inactive” state. That means that your patients will not receive calls until you deliberately activate the feature for the overall program, and also activate the feature for individual patients. Until both steps are completed, no automated phone call reminders will be made. Let’s take a look at how this is done.

Activation of the APCR Feature in Your Kareo Program

In the contact information section of any patient record, you’ll see a check box that reads, “Enable Auto Phone Call Reminders.” Notice that the text and the check box are gray. This feature is currently in the inactive state for the entire Kareo system. You must first enable the Kareo APCR feature before you can turn the feature on for an individual patient.

To enable the Kareo APCR feature, first go to the Settings menu and then choose Options and then Appointment Options. Under “Appointment Reminders,” check the “Enable Appointment Phone Call Reminders (24 Hours Prior).” check box. By doing this you activate the feature for the Kareo software.

Activation of the APCR Feature for Individual Patients

The next step in the activation of the APCR feature is to activate the feature for an individual patient. Choose a patient for whom you wish to activate the feature. In the Contact Information section, look for the “Enable Auto Phone Call Reminders” check box under the Mobile Phone number listing. Since you have already activated the feature in the Kareo software, the text and check box for this patient is no longer grey. Activate the feature for this individual patient by clicking the check box.

Now that the APCR feature has been activated for this patient, any appointments you schedule for this same patient in the future will activate a call reminder 24 hours prior to the appointment. Calls are always placed to the mobile phone number first, and if no mobile number is on file, the patient will receive the call at home.

People are busy today and their attention is fragmented like never before. With Kareo, you don’t have to leave your appointment schedule open to chance. Kareo’s Automatic Phone Call Reminders feature can help you to minimize missed appointments, maximize revenue and increase patient service satisfaction.

You can learn more about the Automatic Phone Call Reminders feature in the Help menu by choosing Appointment Options or Patient Records. For additional information about Kareo, consult the Kareo user manual or go to the support tab of the website for downloads, guides, training, and more.

Read More | No Comments | Filed in Features, Releases

Kareo Release for February: Report Enhancements, Usage Analysis and More

February 21st, 2012 by Joann Doan

On Friday, February 17th, Kareo users’ accounts were upgraded with the latest Kareo release.  Several key improvements have been made including a report enhancement, the addition of usage analytics, and a couple new improvements.

Account Activity Report

The Account Activity Report is important for measuring productivity and analyzing transactions.   With the modifications made to this report, users now can:

  • Sort the data by date-of-service
  • View the payer associated with specific line items
  • See the number of procedure units attributed to specific line items

Usage Analytics within Kareo

Did you know that Kareo customers are managing medical billing for over 10,000 providers across the country?  With so many people using Kareo, it has become necessary to better understand what areas and features within Kareo are used the most.  Beginning with this February release, we have incorporated tools to trend the usage of specific functions in Kareo.  With this information, we will have better insight into the impact major modifications to features or processes would have to our customer base.

What change can users expect?  Nothing visibly will change for users or their workflows.  We will simply have better information from which to make product and performance enhancements over time.

Other Fixes & Enhancements

WebPT Interface:  An improvement has been made for handling referring physician information passed from WebPT to Kareo.   When Kareo receives data containing a referring physician, it will attempt to match the data with the referring physician file in Kareo.  If no match is found, Kareo will automatically create a referring physician and the encounter will be created.  This automation will save time and effort for billing staff.

Patient Emergency Contact Fields:  Two new fields have been added to the patient information screens to included emergency contact information.  The following fields are now available on new patient and the edit patient screens:

  • Emergency Name
  • Emergency Phone

At Kareo, we continue working hard to make medical billing easy for you. Customer feedback drives our service and ensures we build the features that matter most to people like you, so your input is critical to us. Please email your suggestions, challenges and ideas for our next release to features@kareo.com.

Read More | No Comments | Filed in Company, Features, Releases

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