Behavioral Health Billing Services Success Story: Startup Soars High (and Fast) with Kareo

Heidi Ritton was a successful sales manager, in charge of a multi-state territory for a large manufacturer. While she enjoyed the day-to-day work of selling and meeting with clients to help them solve problems, she regretted spending too much time away from her children.

When her husband decided to leave his job to pursue a degree in nursing, she took an equally daring leap and formed her own home-based medical billing company. Heidi was fortunate to have a friend, and owner of a large mental health group, share with her the billing woes that practice owners and clinicians often faced.

“While I had no background whatsoever in billing, I saw an opportunity to replace some of my husband’s income,” Ritton says. “My background is business, and I quickly realized that billing was something I could learn to do well and grow into something bigger.”

Challenge: Finding a Firm Foundation

Ritton’s friend explained how his group had evolved over time, with each new step impacting the time and resources required for billing. While researching the many different billing software options available, Ritton understood that speed-to-revenue was what mattered most. This led her to select Kareo. Once she saw Kareo’s intuitive interface and streamlined workflow, Ritton realized that this was the platform that would optimize her revenue growth strategy. “It was probably premature to purchase Kareo so early in the game,” says Ritton. “However, my business training taught me the importance of investing for growth. Once I saw Kareo’s end-to-end design, and how it let me do transactions seamlessly with one touch instead of three, I knew it would be the right infrastructure to build on.

Solutions: Full-Service Billing Resource

Behavioral Health Billing Services uses Kareo to input billing enrollments, check eligibility, match claims, post ERAs, process secondary claims, troubleshoot denials or rejections and follow up with clinicians on any discrepancies. Ritton calls her company ‘the man behind the curtain,’ sending statements to therapists rather than directly contacting their clients. Empowering clinicians to take care of their own collections, while BHBS remains invisible to patients.

“Many of my clients use EHRs to manage their practices,” she notes. “I can easily import their demographic information into Kareo, eliminating many hours of data entry. If they’re not on Kareo, I find myself urging them to adopt it or switch [to Kareo Clinical EHR]. In addition to being easier for me, since their portal communicates directly to mine, I know they’ll be much happier on such a solid and well-established system.”

Kareo Support Leads to Enhanced Operations

Although she describes herself as ‘no software expert,’ Ritton learned to use the Kareo platform through a few online sessions with her dedicated Kareo Customer Success Coach (CSC).

“Kareo is so intuitive. I learned to post payments in less than an hour. All put together, it probably took me only eight hours to become fully proficient in Kareo.” She also likes Kareo’s accessible online self-service capabilities, where she can search by topic. “The software has printouts for each issue I might encounter, with step-by-step guides. It has self-guided tutorials, too. If I ever have a question that I can’t figure out with the guides, the Kareo team gets back to me quickly, often within minutes.”

“I learned to post payments in less than an hour. I probably took me eight hours to become fully proficient in Kareo.”

Too Simple to Be True

Ritton says she considers Kareo to be her first employee. “It does so much more than a person would, though.” In the first quarter since starting her new business, she has already hired two contractors to handle all the extra work. “My newest contractor was used to a different billing software,” says Ritton. “She went through Kareo’s intuitive tutorials, and then asked me to check her first project. She was dumbstruck to learn that it was essentially perfect. She thought she must have done something wrong, because using Kareo was way too easy!”

Results: Explosive Expansion

Ritton started her company by specializing in behavioral health billing, where core codes and diagnoses are relatively straightforward and consistent. But she has big plans for the future. “With Kareo in place, we will be able to expand into doctors’ offices and other new areas. The phone is ringing every day with referrals. There’s so much opportunity.” The payoff for Ritton’s vision and determination speaks for itself.

“We’re handling 15 times the volume we had initially projected. And to go from zero to 19 clients in three months? It’s unheard of! Plus, we’re on track to bring in six figures our very first year. I never could have grown this quickly without Kareo.”

About the Author

Alesa Lightbourne is a prize-winning author, professor and former dean of an international business school. As a freelance writer, her clients have included Fortune...

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