Lori Laupola: When Something Seems Too Good to Be True, It Usually Is. Kareo Is for Real.
Lori Laupola of Hawaii never set out to become a medical biller. But when a doctor at the hospital where she works in administration asked to help him get his bills out, she agreed. That was in 1998. “At first, I would process his bills manually,” she laughs. “I thought, ‘There has to be a better way.’” Lori began researching the field and in the process, became quite efficient by using the latest technological tools available. Client satisfaction earned her word of mouth referrals and her client base grew to six practices---essentially, a full-time medical billing operation. She was approached to merge her clients with another company but after several years, Lori decided it was not a “fit” and opted to go back to solo practice. Today, she has 13 behavioral health professionals as clients---and still maintains her position at the hospital.
“As busy as I am, I’ve learned that the more electronic you are, the more efficient you can be,” Lori states. She uses technology to manage her billing practice as well as fulfill her role as a preceptor to students enrolled in medical billing school. “I teach students who are in the externship phase of their program,” she says. “I have students in California and North Carolina, and I conduct a webinar with them two days a week.” Lori assigns one of her clients to each student, who then manages the account under Lori’s supervision. Since Lori gets pro bono labor and the students get practical experience, the arrangement is a win-win all around.
“I train my students using Kareo,” she notes. “I’ve been using their software since 2007. At first, I was very apprehensive about Kareo. But I couldn’t afford the $60,000 it would take to get set up on another billing software system when I went back to solo practice. Kareo’s price was right, but its ease of use keeps me with it, along with all its functionality.” According to Lori, she also appreciates Kareo’s commitment to constantly improving the software and the user experience. “I really like all the different ways of obtaining support,” she notes. “The online articles, the incentives for users to help users---the Kareo user community feels like an online family.”
Lori believes in teaching her students good billing habits early on. “One of the most critical issues is following up on claims,” she tells them. “Check denials and ‘no responses’ on a daily basis and you will never miss a claim. Nothing will get lost when you check your reports every day.” Her students are not the only people who benefit from Lori’s expertise. Insurance companies who deal with other practices using Kareo encourage their billers to call Lori for additional training, when they need assistance.
In addition to the online support, Lori uses Kareo’s benchmarking features to help her gauge her own performance. “I watch the numbers that Kareo posts for payment velocity, which measures the average turnaround systemwide,” she states. “The Kareo number seemed to stay at 19 on the site, but my own number came down to 16!”
Because she believes in maximizing the benefits of technology as much as possible, Lori moves all of her new clients to Practice Fusion, the companion practice management software. “It makes everything more streamlined,” she asserts. “One of the best features of Kareo is that I can work anywhere. All I need is my laptop and cell phone. Kareo is a great value and a real time-saver. When I first looked at Kareo, I thought ‘When something seems too good to be true, it usually is.’ Not with Kareo. It really is that good.”