Arricka Watkins has been a massage therapist for 26 years and constantly sees the benefits of using medical massage to treat pain management. She decided to open her own practice in Arizona in 2020 to focus on under-resourced and disadvantaged communities with poor social determinants of health (SDOH). She quickly contracted with the Community Care Network for Veterans Affairs, and referrals from the VA became the majority of her patient base. She also saw how medical massage had positive effects on people afflicted with prescription medication dependency and thus her business, Medi+ssage, found its full purpose.
As a skilled massage therapist, Watkins admits that she wasn’t equipped or trained on documenting patient history with an electronic health record (EHR) or using a digital billing system. Historically, most of her patients paid by cash — until her primary patients became vets. She needed an easy-to-use system to customize patient charts with an integrated billing system where the clearinghouse accepted the practice’s unique billing codes for insurance reimbursements. This became an opportunity to offer a continuing education course (CEU) for massage therapists to also learn to operate an exceptional electronic health reorganization system. Arricka offers this class inside of colleges offering massage therapy certifications.
Then came spreading the awareness that she was open and ready for business. She needed to reach patients with an easy-to-find website, accessible patient reviews, and high-ranking SEO for medical practitioners.
Then she found Tebra.
Optimizing a care delivery workflow
Tebra’s clinical product offers a true end-to-end solution that delivers on the promise of digital healthcare technology by increasing productivity with ease and convenience — and is designed with providers in mind. The solution takes a patient-centric approach to bring everything together on one user-friendly platform. Since the solution is dynamic, Watkins could create and automate the necessary forms for her patients and make it easy for them to submit their information without the hassle of a ton of paperwork.
“Tebra gives me a huge amount of flexibility so I’m not spending a lot of time on documentation. The portal makes it easy for referring providers to upload patient history and share protected health information (PHI) into the electronic health record (EHR) — all HIPAA compliant. My patients love it because all the forms are automated and they can do it from the comfort of wherever they are,” Watkins said.
Easily manage finances and patients
In the past, Medi+ssage has struggled with claims denials and recouping payments from insurance companies.
Tebra Billing & Payments is an integrated practice management solution to help practices and billing companies collect revenue faster and more efficiently. Tebra’s customer success team was able to help Watkins identify non-traditional billing codes that would pass through the platform’s clearinghouse and ensure she got paid quicker from the insurance companies.
“From my experience, most of the EHRs available to small practices make it difficult to get claims passed through since they don’t sync up properly with billing, which is a big problem for a type of business like mine that doesn’t have the normal identifying numbers for patients,” Watkins shared. “Once the team at Tebra helped me figure out what could be accepted, I’m seeing the payback that I wasn’t seeing from my other claims.”
Leveraging a complete operating system is much more beneficial for providers than using multiple disparate systems because they streamline the billing and payment process. With Tebra’s medical billing solution, a practice can enroll, submit, track, and reconcile claims, all from one platform.
Enhance every patient touchpoint
With a new practice and an emerging business model, Watkins leveraged Tebra’s practice growth solution to increase website traffic, improve her search engine rankings, and solidify a regular cadence of patient reviews following each appointment.
Due to saturation of holistic healthcare providers, Medi+ssage had to differentiate itself within the space. Research shows that an online presence is non-negotiable for attracting new patients. Partnering with Tebra boosted the practice’s rank on several organic search results, making it easier for new patients to find them and helped grow its online rating by simplifying how patients provide feedback. Medi+ssage maintains a very high patient satisfaction rate, which is very important to Watkins.
With an improved SEO strategy, the website visits per month increased. Patients use online reviews and positive consumer experiences to choose new healthcare providers.
Alternative medicine and innovative healthcare technology
Medi+ssage is optimistic about the future of treating prescription medication dependency holistically with the assistance of medical massage treatments. Watkins shared that she wants to teach other massage therapists about Tebra to highlight how helpful the complete platform is to their type of business and how it improves clinical results and the bottom line. She offers a medical massage billing and practice management continuing education course at a local college and has been using Tebra as the prototype. Most importantly, it allows providers to spend more time delivering care to their patients.
Watkins said the goal is to grow her practice and brand it as the first medical massage therapy facility saying “that was the biggest reason I needed a solid EHR and billing system that I could trust as the patient base is there waiting.”