Increase Visits & Revenue with Preventive Care Recalls

Lea Chatham June 30th, 2015

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At the recent webinar, 4 Ways to Increase Patient Visits by 25%, speaker Rochelle Glassman, CEO of United Physician Services, talked about several ways to grow your practice, add services, and increase visits. One of her topics was recalls (or recare) for preventive care visits. This topic has shown up many times on The Getting Paid blog in the last few years, but practices still have questions about how to manage a program like this and what the revenue benefits are.

First, one of the reasons scheduling preventive care visits to fill open appointment slots really makes sense today is that most patients with insurance are covered for preventive care without a copay or deductible. This includes well baby checks, annual exams, vaccines, depression screening, weight management, and many tests like mammograms and colonoscopies. So, it allows you to take better care of patients and generate revenue without adding to the patient’s financial burden.

Second, the financial benefits of preventive care recalls to your practice can be significant. Tweet this Kareo story
Just booking annual visits on time provides a level of steady revenue, according to Laurie Morgan of Capko and Morgan. She crunched the numbers on annual visits. If you add four visits a day just from scheduling patients for recalls, you could add $100,000 over the course of one year just by keeping patients on schedule for preventive care. However, if, on average, for a panel size of 2000 patients, you schedule patients six weeks late for their annual visit, you’ll lose $200,000 in revenue over 10 years. If they are scheduled on average 18 months late, you’re practice will lose over $1 million over 10 years.

Finally, the trick to setting up an effective recall program is to create a process and stick to it. Identify key groups that are a good fit for recalls. This might be women due for annual exams, well baby checks, diabetes patients, patient with chronic conditions, patients who need annual vaccines like flu shots. Set up a system to run reports on these patients each month from your EHR. Use those reports to reach out to patients to schedule preventive care appointments. The addition of a good practice marketing platform that allows you to automate some of this can be a big time saver. It can also allow you to offer patients the option to get reminders and recalls via text as well as phone or email.

A recall program can be added work for staff so Rochelle recommends offering incentives to fill appointment slots. Set clear goals for the added number of appointments each month or set individual goals for staff. When those goals are reached treat for lunch or give gift cards. A small amount spent on fun incentives is worth it when it results in a big increase in revenue.



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Free Webinar: 4 Steps to ICD-10 Success

Lea Chatham June 26th, 2015

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Register nowICD-10: 4 Steps to Success
Tuesday, June 30. 2015
10:00 AM PT, 1:00 PM ET

Position your practice for ICD-10 success with 4 simple steps. 



ICD-10 is only six months away. Have you put off preparing for ICD-10? If so, you can’t wait any longer. This major change could have an impact on your bottom line. As a small business, you can’t afford not to be prepared. This webinar offers four simple steps to help make the transition easier on your practice.

In this free webinar, ICD-10-CM trainer Michelle Cavanaugh will review:

  1. What ICD-10 is and how it differs from ICD-9
  2. What you should have already done
  3. The 4 steps to help ensure success on October 1

Register Now

About the Speaker

Michelle Cavanaugh, RN, CPC, CANPC, CGIC, CPB, CMRS, is an AHIMA approved ICD-10 trainer, certified coder, certified professional biller, and certified medical reimbursement specialist. She owned her own successful medical billing company with over 60 customers for 16 years. Prior to that she worked as an ICU RN and Nursing Director for two home health agencies. Michelle is a member of AAPC, AHIMA, and AMBA. She graduated with her BSN from the University of Maryland.

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How to Write a Business Plan for a New Medical Practice

Lea Chatham June 24th, 2015

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New Practice Start Up Guide

By Adria Schmedthorst

Every new business needs a business plan, including a new medical practice. Tweet this Kareo story

A business plan is a roadmap to the success of your practice.  It shows you where you are starting, where you want your business to be in the future, and how you plan to get there.  Here’s a look at the important points to include in your business plan and how to write them.

  1. Mission Statement: Why have you chosen to start your own practice?  What are your personal and professional reasons for taking this step?  What do you want to achieve?
  2. Objectives: Think about your practice 1, 3, and 5 years from now.  What do you want it to look like?  What type of patients are you treating?  What type of staff do you have?  What type of presence do you have in the community?
  3. Budget: Research various costs in your area and create multiple scenarios for what you will spend to open your practice.  Plan A will be what you have to spend to get your doors open.  Plan B will include what you will purchase if you have any money remaining from Plan A.  Plan C is for your ideal future plans, purchases, and upgrades as your practice becomes profitable.
  4. Timeline: Map out your timeline from initial research to opening your doors.  Know when each step has to happen for maximum efficiency.  If your time to opening is either too short or too long, it will cost you more money.
  5. Market Research: Check out other providers as well as payers in your area.  What is your patient demographic?  What are the expected charges for services you plan to provide?
  6. Profitability Projections: Use a spreadsheet to create projections for expected expenses and revenue for at least your first 12 months.
  7. Ideal Patient Profile: Envision the type of patient you want to treat and create a patient avatar.  How old is your patient? Where does your patient live?  Where do they spend their days?  What is their income?  What type of services do they want?
  8. Services You Will Offer: What type of services do you plan to offer?  Do they complement the needs of your ideal patient?
  9. Goals: Think again about where you want your practice to be in 1, 3, and 5 years.  What will be your annual revenue?  Will you expand?

When you are ready to begin writing, remember to keep it short and to the point.  Avoid long, complicated sentences and stay away from medical jargon, using instead simple, straightforward language.  Effective business plans are easy to read.

No matter what format you choose for your business plan, you must have one to guide the success of your practice.  If you are applying for a loan to start your new practice, banks will require a formal business plan.  And, even if you aren’t seeking financing, a business plan is a valuable tool for understanding how your business is put together, holding yourself accountable, and monitoring the progress of your practice.

If you are thinking about starting your own practice, download this helpful guide.

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Think Like a Marketer for Website and Patient Portal Success

Lea Chatham June 23rd, 2015

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Kareo EHR Patient PortalBy John Sung Kim

Any good marketer would have known that Meaningful Use stage 2 would be a challenge for many small practices. It isn’t because getting patients more engaged is a bad thing or because patients don’t want to use a patient portal. It is more because a project like getting patients to your portal is not a clinical effort. It is a marketing effort. And marketing is a skill that requires a certain amount of strategy. I recently talked about this in a post on EMR and EHR.

In addition to having a better understanding of marketing as I discussed in that post, following this checklist when building your next website, or when making the next website edit can boost patient engagement and registration rates significantly.

  1. There are multiple security methods that now obviate the need to have cumbersome, lengthy registration forms. Such technology is commonly available to web developers as open source software or as low cost services. Get rid of the long forms!
  2. If your website does not rank well for the name of the provider or the practice name, launch a Google Adwords and Bing! campaign and use the names of the doctors and practice as keywords. These are remarkably cheap clicks (the search engines charge per click) that can be as low as $0.25 per click, in other words – cheaper than a stamp!
  3. If you want patients to be able to book an appointment online, read your stellar patient reviews, send a secure message or register for a patient portal, make sure those features are highly visible, possibly even brightly colored buttons that are on the homepage of the website. Burying such items in the navigation menu or on a child page will see far lower patient interactions as many users will simply revert back to the ingrained behavior they’ve known all along – looking at the phone number on the homepage and calling the office.
  4. There are multiple website template marketplaces and vendors who are now offering responsive, mobile-friendly designs at affordable rates. There are also many legacy website vendors who do not offer responsive designs, and they should be avoided, especially now since Google is penalizing those “legacy” websites. Also, remember that services that build a copycat version of your website that live on a different URL such as “” are actually seen as different websites entirely by Google, and again these types of services should be avoided.
  5. One of the most clever and effective methods for obtaining more patient email addresses was by one of my clients, an OB/GYN in Fremont, California. Simply, he offered his staff $2 per patient email collected and paid them in the form of Amazon gift cards. Within a few months he went from less than 20% of patient records with emails to over 50%! The benefits of having such emails for patient engagement (newsletters, re-care messages, appointment reminders to reduce no-shows, etc.) had tremendous ROI for each $2 he spent.

In today’s competitive marketplace, healthcare providers have to think a little bit like marketers not only to avoid Medicare penalties but also to retain and recruit patients. Tweet this Kareo story

Use these tips to help. And if you need more help, look at implementing a practice marketing platform like DoctorBase.

About the Author

John Sung Kim is the founder and founding CEO of Five9 (NASDAQ: FIVN) widely recognized as the leading company in the contact center industry. He’s acted as a consultant to numerous startups including LGC Wireless (acquired by ADC), Qualys (NASDAQ: QLYS), RingCentral (NYSE: RNG), Odesk (merger w/ Elance), 6connect (funded by Hummer Winblad) and M5 Networks (acquired by ShoreTel). Follow him @JohnSungKim.

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5 Experts Provide Their Top Tips to Increase Patient Visits

Lea Chatham June 16th, 2015

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Tweet This Kareo StoryWant to be successful and competitive as an independent medical practice? Then you need to fill that appointment schedule. Five practice management experts offer their top tips to help do just that. Tweet this Kareo story



  1. Elizabeth Woodcock, MBA, FACMPE, CPC, says focus on your schedule. All too often, practices create barriers in their appointment schedule, with slots reserved for certain purposes, or patients being cancelled and rescheduled willy-nilly. Your scheduler is your director of new business development; develop a schedule with slots for “short” and “long” appointments, easing the ability for him or her to appoint patients. If “pre-designated” slots are not filled with the intended patient with 72 hours to go, open the slot up to any patient. Remember, your time is your practice’s most precious asset. Accept same-day appointments; overbook the 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. slots to account for no-shows. Most importantly, don’t ever bump patients, or they will bump you.
  2. Laurie Morgan, MBA, Senior Partner at Capko & Morgan, suggests exploring patient-focused websites. The new wave of patient-focused websites that provide pricing information (and even the opportunity to pre-pay in some cases) represents an opportunity for practices to be seen by new prospective patients who are actively shopping for services. There are many models for these new websites: some are being launched as stand-alone start-ups, others are services offered by health plans, and, in some cases, even banks are getting in on the action—so it’s important for practices to do a bit of research to find out which services are reaching patients in their local area. Aside from making sure your practice is listed in all of these places and making sure you’re visible to any patient who is shopping, you’ll want to verify that these sites are displaying updated information about your practice, including confirming they’re quoting your fees correctly.
  3. You need some sort of marketing machine says Audrey McLaughlin, RN, founder of It is difficult to recruit new patients without marketing today. It doesn’t have to be big, or salesy, or scary. Simply putting your practice out there and sharing valuable information with potential patients is enough to generate new patients.
  4. According to Molly Maloof, MD, schedule the next appointment at the end of the current appointment. Dentists do this best, and physicians should be doing it too.
  5. John Lynn believes the biggest thing you can do to increase patient visits is to create WOW! experiences for your existing patients. By creating moments of WOW! in your office, your current patients are more likely to talk to and tell their friends about you and share their experience on social media (the new word of mouth). Be creative and focus on the patient. A nice office is fine, but something that is personal to the patient can create a much bigger WOW!

One last tip… Every practice should have a recall, or recare, program. Whether you do this manually or use a practice marketing platform to do it, it is one of the more important tools in increasing visits from existing patients. Many preventive care visits are now covered by insurance with no copay or deductible but patients forget to schedule annual exams, well child visits, and annual vaccines. I quick reminder by phone, email or text goes a long way to getting those patients in for those annual visits.

Looking for more tips on how to increase patient visits, register for the upcoming free webinar 4 Ways to Increase Patients Visits by 25%.

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ICD-10 Success Step 4: Documentation Improvement

Lea Chatham June 15th, 2015

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Kareo ICD-10 Resource CenterProviders may not want to hear this, but the single biggest issue to be addressed in transitioning may be the increased need for documentation. After October 1, 2015, the old order for documentation standards will no longer suffice. The new order requires greater detail. CMS believes this increased specificity will make it easier to assign codes correctly, which should result in fewer errors, fewer unpaid claims and therefore fewer requests to resubmit claims with supporting documentation. Time alone will show if this assumption comes to pass… let’s hope so.

Unfortunately, many providers do not document for a high level of specificity today. In fact many providers undercode or overcode, both of which can be a compliance risk. Undercoding also means you are not getting paid all that you are owed. ICD-10 may help providers code more accurately and therefore get paid more accurately as well.

ICD-10 doesn’t require providers to change the way they document—using templates, dictating, free text, etc.—but it does require more specific elements.
Many ICD-10 codes include laterality or identification of left and right. Some also include a requirement for cause of the injury or condition. Each specialty has it’s own unique changes as well. Here are several examples of ICD-10 specialty changes with links to more detailed articles: Tweet this Kareo story

  1. Primary Care: There are a lot of new codes for primary care providers. Each practice will need to complete mapping of top codes to make sure that they focus on the ones that impact them the most. Common conditions such as headaches, asthma, depression, ear infections, hypertension, and diabetes have many more codes in ICD-10.
  2. Pediatrics: Many of the most common conditions that pediatricians see like otitis media, bronchitis, and asthma require much more detail that often includes laterality, causation, and type. For example, documentation of ‘asthma’ is not sufficient. Instead, pediatricians must specify the type of asthma (i.e., mild intermittent, mild persistent, moderate persistent, severe persistent, or other) as well as whether the asthma is uncomplicated, with exacerbation, or with status asthmaticus.
  3. OB/GYN: Many of the codes in Chapter 15 of the ICD-10-CM Manual require coders to report the specific trimester of the patient’s pregnancy. Other changes with regard to pregnancy include documenting the reason for fetus viability scans and more detail around impact of maternal age on pregnancy. There are also changes that add more specificity for pelvic pain, migraines, and annual exams.
  4. Mental Health: In ICD-10 mental and behavioral disorders due to psychoactive substance use are not only expanded but there is a distinction now between abuse and dependence. There are also more codes for conditions that commonly affect children like ADHD and anorexia. Mental health providers should review all of ICD-10-CM Chapter 5 (mental, behavioral, and neurodevelopmental disorders) to ensure compliant coding.
  5. General Surgery: General surgeons must describe the condition for which they’re performing surgery with as much precision as possible. This includes documenting manifestations and the presence of any complications so coders can assign the correct code.
  6. Rheumatology: Many of the diagnoses relevant to rheumatology include laterality, anatomical specificity, and causation. When possible, rheumatologists should document the relationship between two conditions using language such as ‘due to,’ ‘exacerbated by,’ ‘with,’ or ‘in.’ This helps demonstrate patient severity, and it also allows coders to assign the most specific code. Payers may automatically deny codes that are unspecified. Codes for commonly treated conditions like gout and rheumatoid arthritis have been greatly exapanded to accommodate the added detail.
  7. Orthopedics: Site specificity is a common theme in ICD-10, and many of the orthopedic diagnoses will require this information. Laterality, place of occurrence, and type of encounter are also commonly used in orthopedics. Orthopedists should expect to have a significant increase in the number of codes so getting started with code mapping and documentation improvement early on will be critical.

From this broad overview it is easy to see that all providers will face unique challenges with ICD-10. So it important to identify top codes, complete code mapping (which we reviewed in our last post), and then look at what documentation changes need to be made to meet the requirements for those new codes. The sooner providers start to work on these changes, the easier—and more accurate—documentation will be come October 1, 2015.

To help with documentation improvement, now is the time to implement an EHR if you haven’t already. The templates help ensure more accurate detailed documentation and the electronic superbill should have tools to help code for ICD-10.

Another option is to hire a clinical documentation improvement (CDI) specialist or a consulting company to formally audit your documentation. A CDI specialist is someone—often a nurse or certified coder with a clinical background—who helps physicians improve their documentation so it accurately reflects patient severity of illness and meets regulatory requirements. Although ICD-10 won’t require physicians to change the way they document, it does require you to be more mindful of specificity. Accountable care organizations (ACOs) are already engaging CDI specialists to ensure that the physicians in their affiliated practices are documenting appropriately —you can hire these specialists, too!

For more ICD-10 tools and resources, visit the Kareo ICD-10 Resource Center.

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Free Webinar: Increase Patient Visits by 25%

Lea Chatham June 11th, 2015

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4 Ways to Increase Patient Visits by 25%
Thursday, June 18, 2015
10:00 AM PT, 1:00 PM ET

Learn four cost effective ways to increase your patient volume quickly and efficiently. Tweet this Kareo story

Is your patient volume increasing or decreasing year over year?

Whether you have seen a dip in patient volume, brought on a new provider and need to kick start their practice (without taking patients away from other providers), or opened a new office, you have appointments to fill. Whatever the reason, a consistent flow of new and existing patients is the key to long term success and profitability.

In this free webinar, Rochelle Glassman will talk about four cost effective ways to increase your patient volume quickly and efficiently by at least 25%. By the end of this event you will learn how to:

  1. Use internal, existing resources turn on the tap for a consistent patient flow
  2. Identify what patients are looking for when selecting their healthcare providers and what your business can do to capture those patients
  3. Implement external marketing, and find out what works and what doesn’t
  4. Work with the health plans to drive business to your practice

Whether you are looking to stay the course or grow your practice, these tools and techniques can help! Register now to learn new ways to become a new best practice. 

Register Now

About the Speaker

Rochelle Glassman is President and CEO of United Physician Services. She brings a passionate, very practical “do it today” approach to making medical practices successful and getting physicians paid more. 

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Get Tips to Increase Visits in June Kareo Newsletter

Lea Chatham June 9th, 2015

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The June edition of the Kareo Getting Paid Newsletter has great tips on increasing patient visits along with the latest on ICD-10 tools. The newsletter also provides a chance to discover upcoming events, news, and resources from Kareo. Plus, learn about how to register for upcoming webinarsRead all this and more now! Tweet this Kareo story


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What Are Patients Really Looking for in a Provider?

Lea Chatham June 8th, 2015

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By Rochelle Glassman

Are you looking for ways to increase patient volume? Many practices are, and for a variety of reasons. Whether you have a new provider who needs to build up a practice or you’re experiencing competition from retail clinics, there are many ways to increase patient visits.

Before you implement any new strategies to recruit new patients or increase appointments from existing patients, it is important to understand what patients are looking for in a provider today. Tweet this Kareo story

When patients are looking for a new healthcare provider they no longer just look in the health plan directory for a physician in their neighborhood. They don’t call and wait 30 minutes for somebody to pick up the phone just to be put back on hold. And they really don’t want to wait three weeks or more for an appointment that is during work hours.

Can you imagine if retail businesses treated their customers like this? They would be out of business pretty quickly. Patient are looking for availability, accessibility, and efficiency. They want to be able to easily get an appointment where they are seen on time.

Many patient are also looking for a practice that offers online scheduling, a patient portal, text reminders, and online billpay. To learn what is important to your patients and potential patients you need to go where they are—social media and physician rating sites.

To find a provider who fits the bill many patients are now looking at social media and variety of review and rating sites before they even reach out. They want to know the provider has positive feedback on the criteria they value.

Depending on what service the patient is seeking and their level of knowledge they will look to:

  1. Medicare safety ratings. Medicare rates from 1 to 5, 5 being the highest score
  2. Yelp listings. Yelp allows prospective patients to see current patients’ prospective.
  3. Physician Rating Sites. Physicians are now also rated by their patients for quality and patient satisfaction on websites like

You need to know what patients are saying about your practice on these sites. You also need to be sure your practice can be found by patients. This is why having a good website, a Facebook page, and managing and monitoring your ratings and reviews is so important.

You’ll get a sense of what patients are looking for. For example, if they are saying they’d love to have an online scheduling option then you can make that change. If someone says your wait times are too long then you can work to fix that problem. Or if patients say you need extended hours you can consider that option.

Use the Internet as a tool to learn about what you do well and what you need to improve. Make improvements as part of you plan to increase patient volume. Then, you can begin to implement programs directed at recruiting new patients like mining your patient data to develop a recall program, launching more active marketing campaign or adding new services types.

To learn more about what patients want along with four strategies that can help you increase visits, register for my upcoming webinar, 4 Ways to Increase Patients Visits by 25%. Register Now!

About the Author

Rochelle_MG_1811Rochelle Glassman is President & CEO of United Physician Services. Rochelle brings a passionate, very practical “do it today” approach to making medical practices successful and getting physicians paid more

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Professional Voicemail Skills Still Matter

Lea Chatham June 3rd, 2015

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By Erin Kennedy, MCD, CMRW, CERW, CEMC, CPRW

Are you one of the people they were talking about on NPR recently? Please Do Not Leave A Message: Why Millennials Hate Voice Mail is taking a look at the way that leaving a message is fast falling out of favor as a communication mode. You don’t have to be part of the Millennials to hate voice mail because it can be a sudden challenge you don’t do well. But there’s a problem with refusing to deal with voice mail because it is used in business all the time.

If you are searching for a job, there’s a good chance you will need to leave a voice message. If you are contacting your manager or a client, there’s an equally good chance that voicemail will be involved. The game of Phone Tag came about because of the way busy people can’t always pick up the phone and being able to text doesn’t exactly replace it.

If you know you struggle with sounding professional at the sound of the recording beep, you can learn how to deal with it and do it right. Think about the goal of your call and have a message prepared if you have to leave a voice mail. If you have to write it down before you make the call, that’s practice for the next time you need to use the skill.

The same basic rules that apply to a phone interview apply to a business call, and therefore also apply to a business voice mail. Tweet this Kareo story

  • Don’t make a call from a noisy environment. Go to a spot that is quiet and allows your voice to be heard.
  • It should be obvious that nothing is in your mouth, right?
  • Be prepared to state your name, phone number, the reason for the call, and repeat the name & number. Keep it short.
  • Speak clearly and don’t try to cram too much into the message. You can tell them more when they call you back.

Whether you are leaving a message for business or as part of your job search, this is one business skill that you really do need to make sure you can do even if you hate voice mail.

About the Author

Erin KennedyErin Kennedy, MCD, CMRW, CERW, CEMC, CPRW is a Certified Master & Executive Resume Writer/Career Consultant, and the President of Professional Resume Services, Inc., home to some of the best resume writers on the planet. She is a nationally published writer and contributor of 14+ best-selling career books and has written hundreds of career-related articles. Erin and her team of executive resume writers have achieved international recognition following nominations and wins of the prestigious T.O.R.I. (Toast of the Resume Industry) Award and advanced certifications. She also is a featured blogger on several popular career sites.

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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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