Danielle Phaneuf Chose To Change From College Courses To MTTI's Tech School To Prepare For A Medical Billing/Coding Career.

Success Stories

Danielle Phaneuf

Danielle Phaneuf

2018 Medical Billing and Coding/Office Administration
Certified Professional Coder-Apprentice® (CPC-A®)
Billing Specialist I at the Kenney Donovan Center

I always knew I wanted to work in the medical field.

I didn’t immediately know which area I was called to. I first thought I wanted to enter a Diagnostic Medical Sonography program.

I took pre-requisite courses at the Community College to enter their Sonography program.

I drove an hour to the college, took a class for an hour, and then drove another hour back home. I kept taking classes; the College kept adding courses they said I needed for admittance to the Sonography program. After four years of taking classes, I felt lost. I was getting nowhere—just wasting time and money.

I began researching other kinds of medical training programs.

I had heard about medical coding, but didn’t know much about it. I knew I was good with numbers. I wanted to attend a Tech school, where I would have the structure and consistency of knowing Monday through Friday what I would be doing every day.

I knew graduates from MTTI who were working in the fields for which they had attended school.

One friend is working as a Medical Assistant. My boyfriend, a 2014 MTTI graduate, loves his work as an HVAC/R Technician.

I read MTTI’s Facebook reviews; students described the great experience they’d had attending the school.

I thought, ‘If they could do it, why can’t I?’ I toured the school and interviewed with an Instructor in the Billing and Coding program. Everyone is so friendly at MTTI! I decided to enroll.

At the Community College it was all talking and slide shows; MTTI is hands-on learning.

Smaller classes, with one-on-one time from the instructor helped me learn faster. The instructor engaged us by teaching to all different learning styles.

The program includes MS Office Suite, so you can learn or improve computer skills.

One of my classmates hadn’t been in school in ten years; she re-learned typing and office skills needed for employment in the medical industry.

Learning coding was challenging, but help was always here.

There was no need to remain ‘stuck’ on any question. When one of us was felt stuck, another classmate would step in to help. Outside of class, my classmates called one another. We sent group texts and emailed our instructor, Ms. Christine, with our questions.

The instructor was awesome!

Ms. Christine could read your face and body language and know if you were ‘iffy’ about understanding the information. She’d give constructive critique to get us on the right path toward finding our own answers. I wouldn’t want someone to just give me the answers. When it comes time to take the certification exam, it is important to know how to get to the answer on one’s own.

Ms. Christine also prepared us to search for shadow and internship opportunities.

She was very real—she didn’t sugarcoat the experience of contacting employers. She told us that some places might not welcome us—so I didn’t expect every place to greet me with a smile. If they weren’t friendly, I wasn’t deterred from going to the next place. Shadow and internship search hones your customer service skills and how you present yourself.

The hands-on practice in the program prepared me for internship at Women & Infants.

Initially it felt ‘nerve-wracking’ to intern, because this was my first experience working in billing. They welcomed having some help. They put me on a computer, showed me how to do it and then let me do it myself. I performed patient data entries, charge entries, reviewed denial claims and reviewed clean claims (double checking insurance claims already billed to ensure they had no errors).

When a woman who was teaching me was out due to illness, I was able to lighten her workload.

At first I felt overwhelmed by the number of charge slips—with the doctor’s name and diagnostic codes—all to be converted into hospital codes. The stack was so high I didn’t think I would get through—but I did. When she returned the next day she was happy to find that she wasn’t behind.

MTTI offers a (free) Boot Camp to prepare for the AAPC Certified Professional Coder® exam.

After classes had completed, we met in the evening and went page by page through the coding manual. Beyond learning the answers, Ms. Christine gave us the rationale for why each answer was correct. One point can make the difference between passing and failing the test. Everyone became more confident as we progressed through the Boot Camp.

I like knowing that, even behind the scenes, I am helping people.

During internship, I helped a patient whose claim was denied. She was confused about having to pay for a specific service she thought was covered by insurance. She was so grateful when I told her that we had resolved the issue, and she wouldn’t have to pay. It made me feel good to have helped relieve her stress.

Leaning Billing and Coding at MTTI was a challenging experience—but very rewarding.

At MTTI, you get out of the program what you put into it. No one can do it for you—you have to do it yourself. Put in 100% and you’ll get out 100%--you’ll know you can do this work in the real world. Now that I am working as a Billing Specialist, I am excited to put into practice what I learned at MTTI!

Photos:
(top) Danielle accepting her Diploma and Special Award as Class Valedictorian from Instructor, Christine Pereira.
(middle) MTTI 2014 HVAC/R Graduate, Tyler Babbitt, joined Danielle to celebrate her graduation.
(bottom) Danielle with Instructors, Ms. Christine and Ms. Roc, and her classmates at the Graduation Ceremony.

Postscript from Danielle on May 30, 2018:
"I have been checking my phone every day, 3 times a day, since I took the test! I am so happy and proud to say that I passed! I am so beyond excited! I couldn’t help but jump up and down like a little kid when I saw the results."