Author Topic: In the process of switching from Therapist Helper to Kareo  (Read 4796 times)

James B

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In the process of switching from Therapist Helper to Kareo
« on: January 08, 2013, 12:15:35 PM »
I took the advice of some folks on this forum (namely, Linda) and am in the process of switching over from Therapist Helper to Kareo (they're waiving the fees for the first month so I can try it out).

We are a single-provider, mental health practice of 200+ active patients, located in Connecticut. I took over all of the billing (primarily for our insured patients) this summer and prior to that had no medical billing experience. The doctor had been using Helper for a while and I found the software to be glitchy and cumbersome, in general. My intuition told me there had to be a better solution out there. Then late last year Helper was bought by Netsmart and they reduced their support staff and I haven't been able to get a hold of anyone for a few weeks. That was the last straw.

I like what I am seeing as I learn/setup Kareo. Currently trying to decide if I'll pay the $1500 fee to import the demographics/insurance info from the old software or just add it myself. Anyone else make the Kareo switch recently?

Best,
James

PMRNC

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Re: In the process of switching from Therapist Helper to Kareo
« Reply #1 on: January 08, 2013, 12:43:38 PM »
I have seen Kareo do some great data transitions.. and they are NOT easy which is why they are so expensive. I've done a few myself (none with Kareo) but one of my clients has a large practice with 5 providers (pediatricians) and 3 NP's. They did the transition and were pretty pleased.   They did this before I came on board.   My own personal preference is a bit different and you might not agree with it but I'll explain.   When you do a data transition, you are basically putting data into another program and mapping fields.  As I said, I've done data conversions that were AWFUL, HORRIBLE, somewhat decent.  NEVER have I done one where there were no headaches. My last one I decided to actually go manually. NOT because I didn't want to spend the money, but because I wanted a fresh way to enter data. The client wanted certain reports his biller could never provide, but in looking at the database it really wasn't her fault specifically nor the software's fault, it was a matter of the way the data was entered.  In other words "Good Data in is Good Reporting Out"  If you don't setup your database the right way, you'll never extract the data you or your clients NEED to do your job efficiently.   If I am doing a conversion manually I like to start off by a set date of service. I learned this process through an old vendor and it was called the "invisible transition" Provider's love it because it doesn't cost them anything. I like it because I'm able to setup the database the way I want it! 

So my advice is to really decide what's right for your practice.   If you are ok with how you had your data, and the database is large enough to substantiate the cost (remember to factor in headaches because there's no such thing as perfect transition, mapping success depends on platforms of BOTH software)
Linda Walker
Practice Managers Resource & Networking Community
One Stop Resources, Education and Networking for Medical Billers
www.billerswebsite.com

James B

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Re: In the process of switching from Therapist Helper to Kareo
« Reply #2 on: January 08, 2013, 02:46:05 PM »
Thanks for your reply, Linda...
I noted your response in another thread regarding how difficult transitions/conversions can be, and I am going to try my best to "work smart, not hard". We're not opposed to spending the money on the data transfer, but as you suggest, the real questions seem to be: a) how good is the data to begin with? and b) what exactly is being transferred? In our case, a) I'm not that confident in the quality of our data-- there were so many "hands in the pot" prior to my arrival that I only really trust what I've entered myself and what I've cleared up, to date; b) Kareo told me that only the patient demographics and insurance information gets transferred, not the financial info. The bulk of the data is up to two years of appointments/billing history, and since that doesn't transfer anyway I may decided to just manually enter new records for each patient, starting fresh with the new year. Then I guess when billing history issues come up, I'll just have to refer to my old software database, carrying notes/balances over to Kareo. Does that make sense? I'm not saying that I won't end up paying Kareo to import my patient/insurance info IF IT MAKES SENSE AND WILL SAVE ME A LOT OF TIME, I just haven't decided on the best course of action.

And I already have a headache, but it is nothing compared to the pain involved in deal with my current vendor (Therapist Helper/Netsmart) who won't even return my calls at the worst possible time when, as you know, mental health billing codes were completely overhauled. Unbelievable!

Best,
James

gurumedbill

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Re: In the process of switching from Therapist Helper to Kareo
« Reply #3 on: January 11, 2013, 10:21:50 AM »
My personal preference is to start from scratch.  There are times that I have done conversions but if I haven't put the data in then I'm usually not very confident that it will be good when it comes over.  You know the adage of "garbage in, garbage out".  Also, depending on how long the practice has been in business there could be a very large percentage of patients that are no longer active and I don't want a bunch of stuff that isn't useful to come over.
I know the data conversions to TotalMD are only $999 so it makes the idea a little more appealing but still I don't normally do it. 
James, before you decide on Kareo for sure, do yourself a favor and look at TotalMD (you should probably schedule a demo with them).  Of course I'm biased since that is what I use but I know they are extremely popular with Mental Health so it is probably worth an hour of your time.  If nothing else it could help confirm your decision to pull the trigger with Kareo.

Cmporter82

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Re: In the process of switching from Therapist Helper to Kareo
« Reply #4 on: February 06, 2013, 12:15:39 PM »
My personal preference is to start from scratch.  There are times that I have done conversions but if I haven't put the data in then I'm usually not very confident that it will be good when it comes over.  You know the adage of "garbage in, garbage out".  Also, depending on how long the practice has been in business there could be a very large percentage of patients that are no longer active and I don't want a bunch of stuff that isn't useful to come over.
I know the data conversions to TotalMD are only $999 so it makes the idea a little more appealing but still I don't normally do it. 
James, before you decide on Kareo for sure, do yourself a favor and look at TotalMD (you should probably schedule a demo with them).  Of course I'm biased since that is what I use but I know they are extremely popular with Mental Health so it is probably worth an hour of your time.  If nothing else it could help confirm your decision to pull the trigger with Kareo. 

Just my two cents on TotalMD, I personally do not care for them at all!  I actually am manually transferring all my data from TotalMD to Kareo right now for one of my clients and I couldn't be happier to get rid of TotalMD.  Cheaper is usually not better, and I have found out the hard way....lesson learned.   TotalMD always was laggy for me (I'm sure because you have to log in remotely to their server), the patient ledger is not user friendly and I was constantly finding errors in their reports from spelling to line titles being incorrect and when I called them on one specifically they couldn't even access it because I was using the web version and apparently it wasn't the latest version and the guy told me I would have to call back on a later date to make sure my software was fully updated.  When you're inputting procedures and diagnosis codes if you have to move away from that line for any reason it will not carry the date or diagnosis over.  There were several times that I was trying to type in 97140 and 97014 would come up because of the lag, so I was always having to wait on it, same thing with 97110 and 97010.  I just wouldn't recommend it to anyone, personally.  I am still having an issue too where one of my insurance companies will only SOMETIMES pull over the Service Facility Location Information, so I have to check EVERY claim from that company and it happens to be the largest one they currently use.  I called them about this more than once and they blow it off and have no answer because they don't know why it's doing that.  I was using Office Ally (love that clearinghouse, btw!)  and so I saved the claim files to my computer locally to be able to upload the file to Office Ally.  Well that was always super slow as well, having to wait for it to open up the files on my computer.   I have a hard time getting a receipt from them for payments too!  They never emailed them like they said they would, then I had to call someone twice about.  They were supposed to take the money out of my account on Jan 10th and it didn't get taken out till the 30th...I just find they are inconsistent and not reliable.  If you're just looking for cheap, then go for it, but I personally am cancelling my account today and I think its the smartest thing I can do for my own business and my provider. 

Working with Kareo has been terrific so far, I am thrilled!  I think their software is very user friendly if you're familiar with PMS as I have had NO issues, I didn't purchase the additional support and had to wait about 5 min to speak with someone in chat the other day and my issue was resolved within 5 min, so that's not too bad.  I really liked that they called me the day after I signed up to make sure I understood what I was doing, where I could find training videos and literature, how to enroll with the clearinghouse, etc.  Then he set up an appointment for next week to go over things and said he'll contact me once per week for a month but I can email or call with questions/concerns.   No one from TotalMD ever contacted me, in fact I have had to sit on hold on the phone for 45 min on more than one occasion.  As I said, this is just my personal experience with TotalMD and Kareo. 

gurumedbill

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Re: In the process of switching from Therapist Helper to Kareo
« Reply #5 on: February 07, 2013, 12:16:12 PM »
Cmporter82,

I'm sorry about your bad experience and I wish you the best with your switch.  I guess I'm glad my experience has been different.  My question would be, did you ever have training even just one hour?  It sounds to me like you didn't. 
I feel the TotalMD ledger is the best of the literally dozens of programs (including Kareo) I have researched but you have to understand it to access its full potential.
You can easily get diagnosis codes to be brought down if you move away from the line but again you probably didn't get training.  There are a lot of people that can pick it up without training but in most cases you need training to really understand and use the program. 
I also find it hard to believe that you ever had to wait on hold for more than 45 minutes because over the last few years I have called for a number of different things and I think I waited 10 minutes once but it is rarely more than 3 minutes and 80% of the time there is no hold time at all.  It also sounds like there is some miscommunication between you and the technical support team.  I'm not sure on whose part but probably a little of both. 
Anyway, I wish you the best of luck with Kareo and hope it ends up being a great thing for you.

Cmporter82

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Re: In the process of switching from Therapist Helper to Kareo
« Reply #6 on: February 07, 2013, 03:07:48 PM »
I actually did have training (I think its crap you have to pay for it, too!) and I know the diagnosis carry over but if you go back up to the line you were previously on, when you go to make a new one they will not carry over.  I've asked them about these little glitches here and there several times.  I've used several PMS previously and have never had anything like this.  Most of my problem is the lag from having to log onto their server.  As far as waiting on hold that long, the usual hold time was closer to 10-15 but on several occasions it was much longer.  I remember waiting about 52 min once because I had to eventually just hang up to go home. 

Anyway, it's good for people to get more than one recommendation on a software, and trying them out before switching.  I wish I would have tried out TotalMD before purchasing it.


PMRNC

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Re: In the process of switching from Therapist Helper to Kareo
« Reply #7 on: February 08, 2013, 10:03:53 AM »
This thread is a really really good example of how every billing company/biller is different!  I can't stand Medisoft, yet one of the largest billing companies in my area have been using it forever and love it.  They have been in business longer than me and def have the experience to utilize other software, this one meets their needs/volume, etc.    I myself have been through 4 popular software's. I've done data conversions that were a nightmare and some that were rather easy and uncomplicated. I've used software that is very popular and people love and I've used software that people hate that I love. Bottom line.. DEMO DEMO DEMO.  I give our members some resources on HOW to demo a good PM system, if it turns out that Medisoft is your cup of tea, great.   I know different people who love some softwares and hate others.   FIND one that YOU like, make sure you know what features you need and WANT, and take TIME to demo. I always made sure the company offered either a free trial version, demo, etc where I can actually put it to the test.     
Linda Walker
Practice Managers Resource & Networking Community
One Stop Resources, Education and Networking for Medical Billers
www.billerswebsite.com

gurumedbill

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Re: In the process of switching from Therapist Helper to Kareo
« Reply #8 on: February 08, 2013, 12:17:06 PM »
Linda,

You are right on with that.  I guess if only one program was the best for everyone then there wouldn't be so many options out there.