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How Much Does Mental Heath Practice Management Software Cost?

Federal regulations surrounding electronic health records (EHR) affect all medical practices, including mental and behavioral health facilities. Finding the right mental health practice management software (PMS) helps ensure compliance. It also makes running your practice more efficient by automating a variety of time-intensive activities, such as billing and maintaining patient records.

Behavioral health practices have needs specific to their specialty, so review your options carefully, and ask plenty of questions when talking to your vendor.

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Ensure the Practice Management Software Meets Your Needs

What do you need in a PMS system? Some common features to consider include:

  • Breaking down billing and coding information by staff and service types
  • Checking patient retention rates
  • Monitoring practice progress
  • Sending appointment reminders
  • Submitting insurance claims

In addition, look at how the system allows you to enter notes. For example, can you export notes via a PDF? How much detail does the system allow? Also, consider compatibility between the system you choose and your existing systems.

Mental Heath PMS System Costs

One of the biggest cost indicators is whether you choose a cloud-based system or a self-hosted software-based system. Even within these two categories, however, pricing varies widely. The size of your practice, number of users, and features you choose all influence the price you'll pay for the system. The only real way to get a reliable estimate is to talk to vendors. Ask them specifically about hidden costs, which features are part of the standard package, and what technical support looks like.

You should also talk to other behavioral health providers to learn about their experiences with their systems, which features they never use, and which ones they wish they had. In addition, take advantage of the plethora of user reviews online. These offer a fairly reliable picture of what working with that vendor and system is like on a practical basis. Take into account how long ago the review was posted, however, as reviews over 12 months old may not reflect recent changes made by the company.

Cloud-Based Systems

Cloud-based PMS system solutions typically include a one-time setup fee plus monthly billing per user. Prices on both of these vary, again depending on features. However, expect to pay around $5,000 to set up a cloud-based system, and then between $300 and $500 per month, per user.

Additional costs for cloud solutions may include percentage of collections, or charges for sending invoices and appointment reminders (typically after reaching a pre-set monthly cap). If your practice is small- or medium-sized, and you have a reliable Internet connection, a cloud-based system is probably your best bet.

Self-Hosted Software-Based Systems

If you choose a software-based PMS system, you see much more variability in pricing. First of all, the software itself ranges between $1,500 and $10,000, and large practices may pay upwards of $50,000 for their system.

In addition to the cost of the software, you also pay a licensing fee for each user. These cost between $1,500 and $3,500 on average. Yearly upgrades typically cost around $2,000. You also need to purchase some basic hosting equipment, including:

  • A server
  • Ethernet switches and wires
  • A backup hard drive

The cost of these additional items adds between $1,500 and $2,000 to the cost of your software system.

Sample Solutions

We provide three examples of mental health practice management software systems to give you a better idea of the variability in pricing and features.

Kareo

Kareo offers patient scheduling, billing features, and customizable dashboards. Customers receive 90 days' worth of training, as well as free access to an EHR system. Monthly pricing begins at $149 per provider. A solution that includes unlimited claims submissions starts at $300 per month per provider.

Theranest

Theranest pricing varies by the number of active clients in your practice. Features include custom notes, a client portal, mobile app, DSM/ICD codes, and treatment plans. It also comes with a variety of billing features, such as PQRS and credit card services. It syncs with Google/iCAl and offers a free trial period. Pricing begins at $29 per month for up to 30 active clients, with incremental increases up to $149 per month for up to 150 active clients. For practices with more than 150 clients, they request you contact them directly.

TherapyNotes

TherapyNotes features notes, electronic billing, scheduling, and EMR capabilities. It claims to incorporate a simple, intuitive interface that has you up and running the same day that you install. The provider also offers a free, 30-day trial period. Monthly pricing is $59 for a single clinician, plus a charge of $30 for each additional user.

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