Office Ally

All practices need a system for billing and tracking their income. You really cannot do without it. I know…we tried to use regular accounting software (Quick Books), but it just can’t do what you need it to do. Not in the arena of practice management anyway. And a spread sheet just can’t cut it.

There are many billing and practice management programs on the market (MediSoft and Lytec to name just two popular ones). They run from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand and up. Some EMR’s programs have them included in the program. A nice bonus, but one that is not yet available to me with Amazing Charts (though it’s coming sometime this year).

Enter Office Ally. I have been using them for electronic billing since I started doing the billing myself (another long story for a different post). Well, Office Ally announced their practice management module and I’ve just started using it. it’s called Practice Mate so I can only give you a preliminary report.

One of the things I like about it, is that once my patient is set up, it’s easy to create a visit and bill. I can post to that patient, and when payment comes in I can post all the different payments we receive. I’ll be able to keep track of which insurance, which secondary, who is outstanding etc. It will even print out my bills for mailing out. There is also a scheduler – though I’m using the one that is with Amazing Charts. Oh yes…Office Ally will be coming out with their own EMR system sometime this year.

So…what does this cost? Nothing. Well sorta. Office Ally is free to providers (the insurers pick up the fee) unless more than 50% of your submissions for billing are Medicare/Medicaid. Then the fee is $20.00 per month. That much less than most clearing houses. Right now there are only two carriers I cannot bill through their electronic system…and one of those is coming online soon. Practice Mate is free as well. I understand the EMR system, which will make this a complete package will be somewhere along the range of $20.00 per month.

There are so many cost that are part of start up…this does not have to be one of them.

Comments 13

  1. Hi Barbara,

    I would like to learn more about Office Ally, and do you do your billing or does your medical assistant? Currently I have a biller who is in her own home. She uses Medisoft, but I am not privy to seeing what she has sent in real time.. or even a “read only ” copy, she should be able to send it to me. I find I have 30 to 45 day waits, and still am paid only 40% for what has been sent out for Nov and December.. I feel that is too slow. I also feel that the insurers dont get to know me, as I print out the superbills, scan them into a billing file on the date they are mailed (time consuming, so I can keep track of what checks I have not received, and also if the superbills get lost in the mail, I can re send), and I pay postage and send the superbills, eobs and copies of received checks to my biller. She sends electronically my claims through a clearing house, to the insurers. She charges 7% of what comes in monthly.. plus fees for printed statements, and as I said I pay for postage which is about 20.00 a month to hard mail all those superbills to her. Once I double my volume, my postage will double too. I am getting a second computer in a week, and want to put Amazing Charts on it, and have some way of viewing my billing. Can you tell me more about what you do? Thanks, Carla

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    Author

    Carla,

    The best way to learn about Office Ally is to try them out. Because they are web based, you can access your data anywhere you are.

    When I started using them, I had a billing company that was not doing their job. We were at week 6 since the billing started and had seen just a few hundred dollars return. It turned out they were not sending out the bills through their clearing house.

    I went onto Office Ally, and followed the directions and sent out a few bills. When I saw the payments about 10 days later, I started submitting everything I had. I did most of it for the first several months.

    You will need to get set up for electronic billing with each insurer. Office Ally will also have to set up a few from their end before you can start, but it’s pretty straight forward.

    Since you are using the same EMR that I am, you’ve already done your coding by the time you have a superbill. So inputting the information is not at all time consuming, once you are set up and the patient is in the system.

    The most time consuming part of billing is dealing with the EOB’s when they come back. Office Ally has a free PM – PracticeMate. That will help, but you may still have to track everything, rebill when necessary (Medicare and Medicaid – especially for cross overs is horrible to deal with).

    Right now, our receptionist who is also a coder and had done billing in the past, does the inputting to OA. I can give different people different levels of access to OA.

    We have been using Quick books to send out bills, but will be switching over to OA/PM this year.

    I hope that helps.

    Barbara

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    Author
  4. Hi Barbara,

    Thank you. That helps. I am still working with my biller. She works out of her home, and she is phasing out a large dysfunctional clinic, so she now has much more time for me. She is all set up electronically, and she goes through a clearing house. She does not know much about coding, and she also is not inside the office so she does not go over my charts. She only gets my cms 1500 forms and superbills off Amazing charts.

    So I am getting paid. The main issue has been some coding errors, and also some insurance companies did not have me either contracted, or they had snafus with listing me as a PCP.. there are some delays. For example I have received about 50% of what I have sent out, and 50% is still pending, and it is about 45 days. The other issue is when patients have not paid their deductible, it is a shock to get the eob in the mail with no check, and now I have to play bad guy with the patient. So I think we are going to start verifying what the patient owes each time they come in, on the day of their visit. No more surprises. For now I will stick with my biller, as I feel I have enough to do, but when I get to where I want to do the billing in the office, then I may look more at Office Ally.
    Thanks, Carla

  5. Changes have been made. I had serious issues with the outsourced biller. I now have a new biller and we are using Office Ally. Barbara has helped to answer some of my questions. They are more thorough than most clearing houses with the icd 9 codes, and they need to be 4 or 5 digit codes to be accepted. I saw they do have a code helper on their website, to let you know what they accept…and it helps because the EMR I use Amazing Charts has a very limited ICD 9 list… One problem is that Providence insurance which in my area is about 30% of my patients, does not and will not use office Ally, so we will either bill them by paper, or use a second clearing house. We are billing them by paper now just to see how long it takes.. As I said, with my other biller, I am just now getting checks from December, in March, so I think she had put me on the back burner…. she had 7 providers she was doing work for! I think Office Ally will have a much faster turn around, and the new biller has only me, and then a prosthetic company for which she is all caught up with… Thanks to Barbara for all her help. Carla

  6. I have a lot of experience with office ally. Great product for the price and easy to learn. I am an FNP with a private specialty practice in Oregon in Sleep Disorders. I manage 20 offices across the country with this modality. It has been a great asset.
    Any NPs interested in help with this I am willing to do a go to meeting if interested. Also interested in training NPs in sleep disorders medicine. The learning curve is easier than you might initally think.

    Good forum here.
    thanks
    Joe

  7. Office Ally has helped me so much. Did you know that you can have them print your claims and mail them for you to the insurance company if they are not on their accepted payer list for a small charge of 25 cents (less then the postage!).

  8. I am working in a billing company using office allay as clearing house,now i need to send secondary claim fileing as paper,i cant able get the print of the secondary insurance details,only primary insurance details are displayed,i need to get a print of both the primary as well as the secondary insurance details,
    ie when i select a claim to print only primary details will be displayed,no secondary details will print,ie if there are two pages,we will get a print of the first page only,please sole me to resolve this problem….

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  10. I love Office Ally. I’m a new practice manager, responsible for all the “back office” stuff, including billing. I didn’t even know what an EOB was when I started, but Office Ally has been my helper instead of a hindrance. I especially love getting my EOBs electronically and using the “Autopost” feature. Wow! And the customer support is OUTSTANDING. Anytime I’ve had a question, no matter how silly, I’ve gotten an answer within an hour.

  11. As a billing service that specializes in mental health billing, I can tell you that Office Ally has been great for me. I use my own billing software and upload my claims to them. I am notified immediately of the upload and within a day I get a status report indicating any claims which are missing information or rejected. I can then fix the issues and resubmit the claim right on line at their website. Its a very simple process and my clients are getting paid in approximately 2 weeks for most claims. I would highly recommend them as a clearinghouse. All my clients are happy and when their happy I am happy!

  12. Hi. I am using office ally and it works well for me. However, my practice has really picked up and I just don’t have the time to follow up with billing claims and rejections. Do you know of anyone who uses office ally and could assist me with my billing?

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    Author

    Lourdes,

    Congratulations! It’s a good place to be. Getting someone to assist with billing is one of the more challenging part of business. Some like to outsource and some like to keep it in house. There are pros and cons to both and precautions to take on both sides. I’ve done both and to date, don’t have a perfect system in place.

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