Medical Billing Tip of the Month – April

admin April 11th, 2011

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Reduce Your Manual Payments with a Few Clicks in Kareo

It pays to open up the Kareo Payments screen from the Encounters drop down and uncheck the “show unapplied only” box on a regular basis. If you see a lot of blanks in the Description field of insurance payments, you are spending a lot of time/money posting manual payments. Sort by clicking “Payer” at the top of the column to group the payments by insurance company, or work your way down the list, completing ERA agreements for all that you can. You will probably be surprised at how many ERA connections are available. Don’t forget to get Electronic Fund Transfer agreements while you are at it.

Kenneth H. Lee
Chief Financial Officer
Physiatry Reimbursement Specialists, Inc
Dallas, TX

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Regular Software Updates with Web-Based Medical Billing Software Can Increase Your Productivity and Improve Your Bottom Line

Kathy McCoy, MBA April 6th, 2011

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Regular Software Updates with Web-Based Medical Billing Software Can Increase Your Productivity and Improve Your Bottom Line

How many times have you received a software update notice but delayed or actually avoided making the update because of the cost and downtime? That’s not unusual for many businesses. But when you aren’t running the latest version of your software, you aren’t benefiting from its latest functions, features and bug fixes.

For the medical practice or medical billing company that uses client server billing software that is only  upgraded once a year, this can pose problems. Not having the latest features can result in reduced productivity, and this translates into lost revenue, not to mention more work for your employees. Of course, this also puts a roadblock in your practice’s efficiency that your patients will surely notice.

That’s where web-based medical billing software such as Kareo can help.

No more dealing with software updates or outdated medical billing information

With web-based medical billing software, you and your employees won’t have to spend a lot of time installing software upgrades on your computers or worse, waiting—and paying—for the IT consultant to install the upgrades. Web-based medical billing software updates witih minimal user interruption, and the new features take effect immediately. Plug-ins, patches and security enhancements are also updated, thereby eliminating the need for you or your employees to download and install them yourself.

Did you say, “free software updates?”

Some web-based medical billing software companies charge their customers an additional fee when they release a new version of their software. Kareo, on the other hand, provides free software updates every eight weeks, which is a fantastic benefit for its customers, one of whom said, “The quarterly updates are almost like Christmas… what will Santa bring us this time?” Frequent software updates allow for more efficient and accurate billing because all of the necessary information is current. The end results are fewer rejected and underpaid claims and a faster turnaround of claim payments. If you aren’t using a web-based medical billing service like Kareo, you can expect to pay between $1,500 and $3,000 per year for a traditional (not web-based) billing software upgrade.

Instant notification about updates to your web-based medical billing software

Most web-based medical billing software companies send out e-mail notifications that indicate when their software will be upgraded, and what additions and/or improvements will be included in the upgrade. Kareo does this as well, but also goes one step further by posting information about software updates and new software features on its website.

Your sensitive patient information will never get lost

Another key benefit of web-based medical billing software is the secure storage of your patients’ health and billing information on virtual servers. This eliminates the need for expensive in-office servers that can crash or malfunction and cause you to lose your sensitive patient data.

Now is the time

Regular updates to your web-based medical billing software provide a number of benefits to your medical practice. The latest software provides your employees with new tools and timesavers that can help them work more efficiently and get you paid faster. Next, you’ll dramatically cut your business expenses by not having to purchase expensive computer servers, software licenses and software upgrades, all of which can easily run into the tens of thousands of dollars. When you put the power of web-based medical billing software to work for your practice, you can increase your productivity and improve your bottom line.

Learn more about the benefits of web-based medical billing software.

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The 12 Best Ways NOT to Maximize the Value of Your Medical Billing Software

Kathy McCoy, MBA April 1st, 2011

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Twelve best ways not to maximize the value of your medical billing softwareA few weeks ago, I wrote the initial list of 5 ways NOT to maximize the value of your medical billing software, asked for reader ideas on others, and promised to publish the full list on April Fool’s Day. Well, April Fool’s—here’s your list of the top twelve ways not to maximize the value of your medical billing software. Feel free to continue the list in the Comments space below!

The Original List of Five:

  1. Never check insurance eligibility with real-time verification. This would lead to reduced denials, faster payment, and might even free up some of your office staff to handle other tasks. Who needs that? Never mind that the AMA says you can save $2.95 per claim – you don’t want to fiddle with this. Besides, your patients always tell you when they change jobs, change insurance, etc. – right?
  2. Don’t bother checking claim payments against your fee schedule. Insurance companies pay anywhere from 77% to 94% of the contracted amount, depending on the payer—isn’t that enough? Don’t be greedy and expect your practice to get paid all the amount it is contractually owed. Besides, it takes too long, doesn’t it? Even with medical billing software that provides the info in a few seconds and even fewer clicks
  3. Never check your practice’s performance on a regular basis. Once a year when you go to the tax man is often enough, for Pete’s sake! Why should you bother checking how quickly you’re getting paid, which practitioners and procedures are most profitable, and other key performance indicators? Sure, you could make some adjustments that would allow you to afford additional staff or equipment, or even take a vacation, but who needs that? And just because you could set up reports once and then have them emailed automatically to you as often as you like - that’s no reason to get crazy, is it?
  4. Don’t waste time checking your payers. As noted above, all insurance companies pay the full amount, on time, and are easy to work with, right? Don’t bother checking to see if there are payers you can’t afford to have—money is money, even if it’s only 77% of what you’ve earned. And a month late. You can still pay your staff, right? Right?
  5. Don’t improve your show-up rate and patient collection rate with medical billing software that offers email appointment reminders and clear, easily understandable patient statements. Patients never forget appointments at your practice, so they don’t need to be bothered with reminders! And you never get calls from patients who don’t understand their statements, so why change?

And Rounding Out the List for Twelve:

  1. Be sure to keep copious paper files and create a filing system with lots of color coding and tabs. Oh, and be sure to rent another storage pod for this year’s records. You want to be sure you can drive over to it to retrieve that EOB you need to look up. You certainly wouldn’t want to keep files a mouse click away so you can locate that EOB without having to leave your desk. You wanted to go on a scavenger hunt today anyway…..Right?   –Thanks to Cheri Freeman for this contribution.
  2. Don’t use web-based software—you wouldn’t want to be able to log in from anywhere and be able to check your billing status, and you don’t want to get software updates for free every six weeks. You like paying exorbitant prices for software and then paying for updates you’re not sure you want, don’t you?
  3. Don’t ensure the security of your data with web-based software. You like worrying about the security of your data, and no employee of yours would EVER lose a laptop or a flash drive. And no one you’ve hired would ever forget or screw up the back-up, right? Plus, no one would ever break into your office and steal your computers.
  4. Don’t save your staff hours printing, stuffing and mailing statements with an automated statement service. Your staff enjoys that time, just chatting and stuffing envelopes…they don’t mind the paper cuts, and it’s not as though they have other things they could be doing.
  5. Don’t reduce the number of patients calling with questions on their statements each month with a clear, straightforward statement. Your staff loves talking to patients when they’re confused and upset. And your patients love it even more.
  6. Be sure to sign on with a company that doesn’t care about you and your business or practice, and demonstrates that right from the start with the way they treat you. You especially want to work with a company that has a gag clause in their contract to keep you from sharing your thoughts about the software with your colleagues. And a clause that requires you to offer your clients the option to leave you if you stop using a particular software is even better.
  7. And the best way not to maximize the value of your medical billing software…PAY TOO MUCH for it! You don’t have anything else you could do with that money, do you?

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Welcome to Getting Paid, a weblog by Kareo offering ideas, news and opinions about medical billing and practice management with the goal of making medical billing easier and yes, getting you paid. Visit the Product Blog for more information on our products.

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