How to Choose a New Behavioral Health Billing Software

March 18, 2024

Mental health practitioners possess the strong empathy required to establish rapport with their clients. But that same empathy can act as a detractor when it comes to billing for behavioral health services provided. 

Talking about fees, insurance, and payment policies can feel transactional when you work hard to build strong therapeutic relationships based on trust and mutual respect.

On the other hand, you’re a trained professional providing valuable services, so it’s important to get compensated for your time and expertise. 

Having the right behavioral health billing software makes the process of getting paid simple and easy, whether you’re billing insurance, operating a cash-based practice, or taking a hybrid approach. 

Wondering how to choose the right solution? Reading this blog is a great start. Here’s what we’ll cover:

  • Key considerations for choosing behavioral health billing software
    • Compatibility and integration
    • Billing capabilities
    • Comprehensive practice management
    • Security, compliance and stability
    • User-friendliness and training
  • Benefits of an all-in-one solution like Practice Better
    • A quick overview of key features
    • Streamlining systems and workflows
    • Cost-effectiveness
  • Next steps for making an informed decision

Key considerations for choosing behavioral health billing software

Whether you’re researching your first behavioral health billing software purchase, or looking to make a software switch, here are some must-haves to check off your list (using a permanent marker). 

Compatibility and integration

Make sure the behavioral health billing software you choose is compatible with your existing software systems. This will save you time toggling between different applications and re-entering the same information. 

  • Your calendar is your practice lifeline, providing a single view of your bookings, admin space, and blocked times. Your behavioral health billing software should integrate seamlessly with your calendar and client records. This will save time and headaches associated with manually reconciling your schedule.

Pro tip: Be aware of which integrations you’re promised at the different plan levels a company offers.

For example, you’ll want to ensure that key integrations aren’t only available at a premium level. 

  • If you bill outside of insurance, that means accepting things like credit card and debit card payments directly from clients. Ensure your billing software allows integrations with popular payment platforms. 

Pro tip: By having everything you need to accept, manage and track payments in a single place you save the hassle of comparing multiple dashboards.

For example, Practice Better Payments allows you to accept online and in-person payments. It’s also still powered by Stripe, making it fully compliant with the Payment Card Industry’s Data Security Standards (PCI-DSS) Level 1, the payment industry’s highest level of protection.

Billing capabilities

Having access to features that fit with your preferred business model is key when you’re billing for behavioral health services. Remember: even if you only bill through insurance today, you might want to move to a cash-based practice (or a hybrid of both) in the future. 

Seek out behavioral health billing software that allows you to unlock what you need to grow, when you need it, without restrictions or high costs. 

  • Customizable invoicing. Being able to edit headers and footers in your invoices lets you easily customize them to reflect your own brand. 
  • Payment flexibility. Offering clients different choices when it comes to paying for sessions can be beneficial, especially for those paying out of pocket. Look for options like payment plans, subscriptions, automatic payments, and booking deposits.  

Pro tip: Cash-based programs can offer an avenue to grow your practice and reach additional clients with your expertise and offerings.   

Comprehensive practice management

Standalone software will likely offer specialized features tailored specifically to billing for behavioral health services. However, it’s worth exploring solutions that can improve your efficiency elsewhere, too, like note-taking.  

  • Built-in journaling is also an effective tool for identifying patterns and helping clients take accountability for behaviors or cycles that are contributing to their mental health. 

Pro tip: Dig beyond the marketing claims of journaling functionality to ensure it offers the full capabilities you need.

For example, a practitioner treating a client for depression might want to prescribe daily moderate-intensity exercise, due to its effectiveness in reducing depressive symptoms. Journaling that integrates with Apple Health or Fitbit will simplify tracking for the client and the practitioner. 

  • In addition to the day-to-day administration of your practice, a more comprehensive solution will also offer tools to scale your business beyond 1:1 sessions (think: online courses, group programs, and email-only programs). Imagine a built-in programs feature that allows you to run and report on your online courses in the same HIPAA-compliant platform that powers your 1:1 sessions.

Pro tip: With Practice Better, you have the option to go beyond offering live Group programs.

For example, you can build automated programs to help support clients in forming healthy mental health habits and getting their “homework” done between appointments. You can also sell programs as self-serve or hybrid to help clients stretch their therapy dollars and get lasting accountability.

Security, compliance and stability

Any behavioral health billing software you choose must be fully compliant with HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) in order to protect your client’s personal health information (PHI). 

Pro tip: Insist on features that safeguard data, like end-to-end encryption and access controls around who can see PHI. You’ll also want a signed Business Associate Agreement (BAA) and proof that your vendor is regularly performing risk assessments and security audits. 

Mental health professionals in the United States must also comply with state-specific regulations governing billing practices and electronic health records (EHR) systems. This extends to delivering care by telehealth, as each state licensing board has unique regulations and guidelines to follow. 

G2 5-star Practice Better review from Emily M. that includes the quote, “It is encrypted so I don’t need to worry about personal data breaching issues.”. 

Finally, don’t forget to take platform stability into account. Today’s cloud-based Software as a Service, or SaaS, solutions are delivered to users over the internet. This means downtime can creep in unexpectedly. Imagine the impact on your business if you suddenly can’t access client notes during an appointment. 

Pro tip: Make sure your contract with a tech vendor includes a service-level agreement (SLA). This not only defines the uptime you can expect from a vendor, but outlines penalties associated with not meeting the SLA.

User-friendliness and training

It’s natural to expect a learning curve with any new software. It’s up to the software provider to make sure your curve is smooth, not spiky. Here are some must-haves to add to your list: 

  • The user experience should be well thought out and intuitive. Any behavioral health billing software you’re considering should offer a thorough demo so you can ask your questions and a free trial so you can get into the platform to try it on for size. 
  • Expect a well-developed onboarding program that’s designed to start you off strong and keep a good thing going. 
  • If you’re switching from another behavioral health billing software, ensure the provider offers support to migrate your client information and other important billing documents.
  • Once you’re on the platform, a robust help center should make it easy to search and find the answers you seek in the moments that matter. 
  • If you need to speak to a human, your software provider should provide hands-on support from their seasoned Customer Success Team. 
G2 5-star review of Practice Better from Crystal K with the title “Streamlining my business operations.”

Benefits of an all-in-one solution like Practice Better

Practice Better is a proven behavioral health billing software, but it brings so much more to the table. 

It’s an all-in-one mental health practice management solution that seamlessly integrates everything you need to run your practice into a single solution. The result? You enjoy more organized management of your clients and your business. 

A G2 5-star review from a mental health professional with the headline “Practice Better:  Streamlining My Practice!”

A quick overview of key features

There are too many time-saving features in Practice Better to cover in one article. You can dig deeper into all of them by watching our 15-minute walkthrough video, but here are a few honorable mentions:   

Robust billing capabilities. Practice Better Payments integrates billings and payments into your account. It’s easy to accept, manage, and track your payments in one place. You can also accept all major payment methods, including Apple and Google Pay. Robust encryption and PCI compliance keeps credit card data secure.

Practice Better provides lots of options to keep things flexible for you and your clients: 

  • Require a deposit at the time of booking, then automatically generate an invoice with the remaining balance to process/send later. 
  • Recurring payments allow you to offer memberships or subscriptions, with the flexibility to set up how often you want your client to make a payment, as well as your recurring installment fee. 
  • Add payment plans to your packages, services, and programs. Payment plans allow you to collect a deposit at the time of booking and/or set up a schedule of installment payments. This feature is available on our Pro, Plus, and Team plan.
Setting up a payment plan in Practice Better.

Practice Better also offers features to speed up reimbursements when billing through insurance: 

  • Collect a client’s insurance information during intake and then confirm coverage right in the software.
  • Set up your insurance billing profile and add payers to streamline processes.
  • Create a claim for a specific client session right from the booking page.
  • Use built-in templates and forms to simplify direct submission to payers and the creation of Superbills
  • Add common behavioral health billing codes you frequently use when billing your services, including ICD-10 codes and CPT codes.

Simplified charting and note-taking. Practice Better accelerates the charting process with templates, placeholders, and snippets. 

During telehealth sessions, you can easily reference past notes. And here’s the best part: an AI charting assistant automatically generates word-perfect transcriptions, summaries, and action items during your calls, so you can focus 100% of your attention on the conversation.

Smoother scheduling. Practice Better makes it easy for clients to book and confirm appointments through your website or client portal.  

  • Simplify collection of important client information at the time of scheduling with built-in forms and agreements.
  • Reduce no-shows by requiring booking deposits and sending automated texts and reminders.

Secure messaging. Message clients directly from the portal or app. Secure chat and read receipts make it clear when messages are received. Bonus: you can extend your reach with the option to chat 1:1 or in a group.

Supporting clients on the go. Use the app to support clients from anywhere. It provides full access to the desktop experience you know and love. Clients can also use the app to journal on the go, message you, and even join sessions from their phone. 

Streamlining systems and workflows

Using multiple standalone systems to run your practice can create information silos that make it hard to get a big-picture view of the health of your business and clients. 

Even worse, switching between different software platforms can lead to costly errors and inefficiencies that impact your overall client experience.

Practice Better brings everything you need for practice success into one system: 

  • Integrate billing with other essential tasks for managing your mental health practice – like appointment scheduling, charting, messaging, and more. 
  • Take advantage of meaningful automations to free you from the (paper) chains of endless admin.
  • Access critical training and support resources to troubleshoot fast and keep moving forward. 
  • Consolidate software vendor management into a single provider.


Have you ever added up all of the monthly subscription costs associated with the software you use to run your business? The cumulative cost can be significant when you’re paying separately for things like billing, scheduling, and charting software. 

Practice Better bundles all the capabilities you need into one, predictable monthly price. Bonus: the platform scales with you as your needs evolve, with affordable upgrades between plan levels to unlock additional functionality.

G2 5-star Practice Better review from Samantha S. with the headline, “Perfect for mental health professionals!”

Next steps for making an informed decision

As a mental health practitioner, chances are you find deep fulfillment in helping people through challenging times and supporting their mental and emotional well-being. But you also need to support your financial health if you want to run a thriving business. 

Having robust behavioral health billing capabilities in place is non-negotiable. Having those capabilities bundled into an all-in-one practice management solution is transformative. It’s a practice hack that therapists, counselors, psychologists, psychiatrists, and other behavioral health professionals everywhere use to save time and resources.

Ultimately, selecting the right software for your practice means making an informed choice. This article offers a great starting point, but trying Practice Better for yourself is the next logical step. You can access your free 14-day trial over here.

Practice Better is the complete practice management platform for nutritionists, dietitians, and wellness professionals. Streamline your practice and begin your 14-day free trial today.

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