Chris Leeuw, an extreme sports athlete, was just 28 years old when he plunged from an abandoned bridge into a river – and ended up paralyzed from the neck down. Insurance wouldn’t cover the extended stay he needed in a local rehabilitation hospital. His only hope for recovery was moving to Utah for rehab at a specialty clinic for spinal cord injuries.
After a year and a half of intensive therapy, Leeuw had achieved nothing short of a miracle. He could walk, drive, ride a bicycle and return to independence. He dedicated his life to founding and running NeuroHope of Indiana, a non-profit clinic for disabled people in his home state.
Challenge: Stand-alone Software and Slow Payments
For years, Leeuw and the clinic administrator managed NeuroHope of Indiana on their own, cobbling together a technology system with a physical therapy software app, QuickBooks and basic spreadsheets. An outside company handled billings. Without a system that integrated the whole office with the outside billing team, NeuroHope struggled with scheduling, authorizations, practitioner notes and payments. Claims were often delayed, impacting revenue.
When Natalie Robison joined as practice manager, she decided to find a better answer. “Our first system was fine when we didn’t have a front office person and therapists did their own scheduling,” she says. “But as we grew, it no longer met our needs. We couldn’t use it to make recurring appointments or track authorizations, for example. When a patient canceled an appointment, we had to go back into the system and make manual adjustments. Even little tasks took forever.”
Solution: Switching to a Simple and Affordable Integrated System
Robison demoed many different EMR systems. She found them complicated and expensive. Then she tried Kareo.
“Kareo was really easy to use, and offered everything we wanted in one seamless system. And to our surprise, with the prepayment discount we got an entire year of Kareo for the cost of one month on our old system.”
Today NeuroHope uses Kareo for all aspects of practice management, financial tracking and in-house billing. Robison can easily process claims and invoices, for both self-pay and insurance patients. She can go to her agenda screen and drill down to review patient balances, make adjustments, or check insurance eligibility and authorizations. Jopari, an electronic remittance gateway, integrates seamlessly to process worker’s compensation claims.
“We used to track insurance payments in Excel. Each time a Remittance Advice (RA) came in the mail, I’d have to manually enter deductions, payments and write-offs. Kareo has eliminated all this with built-in checks and balances. This feature alone saves me at least three hours a week,” she says.
“We use Kareo’s patient charge detail reports to filter out units that need to be subtracted for Medicaid authorization. We also track cancellations and no-shows.”
She says that the back office tech likes using Kareo to track vitals. While working on a note, it’s easy to switch between old notes and vitals history without losing her place in charting.
“Kareo makes us more accountable, lets us do more with less, and helps us to better achieve our mission.”
—Natalie Robison, Practice Manager
Getting up and running on Kareo was easier than Robison had expected, and took less than a month. “Kareo’s online training was thorough and intuitive,” she notes. “I was able to learn almost everything on my own, and didn’t even need to book a training session. The system is straightforward and appealing to the eye. Our providers and staff members have been able to easily navigate through the charting features, for example, without watching numerous videos.”
She is impressed with Kareo’s customer support. “Whenever I’ve had a question or issue, I just call our rep or the 800 number. Someone gets back to me within minutes, and helps me figure it out,” Robison says.
Results: Efficient Scheduling, Coding and Billing
Kareo makes it easy to design a long-term therapy program. “After a patient’s first visit, we typically set up a 90-day treatment plan. Before, we flipped through the calendar to find recurring dates without conflicts. Now we just type in the desired time slots, like every Tuesday and Thursday, and click on repeat. Kareo tells us whether any of those slots are already taken. It’s so fast and convenient,” Robison notes.
Custom codes in Kareo help NeuroHope to track its various income streams. “We operate within a large gym, and sell memberships to patients,” she explains. “We also sell things like electrodes and t-shirts. With Kareo, we can identify each source of revenue, and know exactly where every penny comes from.”
Supporting Non-profit Clinic Success
Being a non-profit, NeuroHope has to generate a lot of reports. “At the end of the year, our director can pull productivity data, such as the number of patients on insurance versus self-pay, or spinal injury patients compared with brain trauma. Previously, this took at least 10 hours every December. Now we have data in seconds,” says Robison.
“We also prepare reports for the Indiana State Department of Health and foundations that give us grants. If audited, we can easily extract specific data from the system. Reports that required two or three hours are just a click away.”
Like many non-profits, NeuroHope has a lot of interns. Kareo permits unlimited users, so short-termers are able to access the system, further enhancing its usefulness. And Kareo only charges for provider licenses, the rest of the office is free.
Robison feels that Kareo has given NeuroHope exactly what it needs to thrive and grow. “Non-profits have to be good stewards of scarce resources, justifying all expenditures to donor groups. Kareo makes us more accountable, lets us do more with less, and helps us to better achieve our mission,” she says.
Find out how Kareo for Physical Therapy can transform your practice: