Rebecca Adams, 2019 Medical Billing & Coding/Office Administration Graduate
Medical Billing Specialist at Acadia Healthcare
Working all of my life as a waitress, I had no medical background.
I looked at different programs on MTTI’s website and chose Medical Billing & Coding/Office Admin. I liked that I could qualify for the exam to certify as a Medical Coder, and would not need further schooling to work in the industry.
I already had a positive impression of the school.
I knew a past student that MTTI had helped, after the school she attended suddenly closed before she completed her program. I met with Amy in Admissions to learn more about the program and employment in the healthcare industry. I’d been out of school a long time. Would I be able to study and pass tests?
Interviewing with the Medical Billing & Coding Instructor reassured me.
Ms. Dawn gave me a lot of information about the way she taught. I felt confident about her ability to teach to different learning styles—especially because I am a hands-on learner.
The first weeks of school, trying to juggle my schedule, challenged me.
I needed to balance working nights as a waitress with doing homework, keeping up with housework and giving time to my daughter. I looked for ‘free’ time in my schedule, and made adjustments; I studied during my lunch break. I told myself, ‘this is not forever’. I reminded myself that I wouldn’t need to do a night job after completing school; in a short time I would have a better choice of jobs.
Each time we began a new topic, it was both nerve-wracking and exciting.
MTTI’s Medical Billing and Coding program prepares you for multiple career pathways. You can choose medical billing or coding, office administration, medical insurance or records—there are many job titles. If you don’t like one, you can change to another. I would feel overwhelmed at first by the new information in billing, coding, insurance, anatomy & physiology, computer and office operations; after a week or so I would begin to roll with it.
Ms. Dawn was very supportive; she told me I’m smarter than I think I am.
Entering the program with no background, I came a long way academically. Ms. Dawn’s confidence in me helped me believe in myself. My classmates were also supportive; if someone got stuck on something, everyone helped. Because everyone learns differently, someone was always able to explain what another person didn’t get. Explaining the information to each other helped us remember what we learned.
When I began looking for places to intern, I found there are a lot of jobs.
Some positions do require experience. I felt confident that if I interned with a company, and showed them what I could do, I would overcome any reluctance they had to hire me. It was fun to contact different companies. I looked on glassdoor.com and Linkedin to see who was hiring. I searched different terms—‘medical billing’, ‘medical office manager’, ‘medical records’, ‘medical coding’—to discover places that were advertising positions.
Reading job descriptions, I asked myself, ‘If five people apply, which one will they hire?
What skills and qualities are they looking for? I was also thinking about whether each position would be a good match for me. You don’t always want to go for the highest pay; you want to go where you are going to be happy. I made good money working as a waitress, but didn’t want to do that job forever. I liked the idea of sitting at a desk instead of being on my feet all day. I wanted a position that offered a 401K to save for retirement.
Initially I thought I wanted to work for a large commercial insurance company.
I have friends who work for one that offers good pay and family plans as incentives, and treats their employees well. But the work would have focused on finding errors that help the insurance company. Instead, I wanted to do more to help people get paid by their insurer. When I found Acadia Healthcare during one of my searches, I saw it as a place where I could help patients and providers, grow professionally and earn promotions.
Learning the mechanics of the billing cycle during internship turned the light on for me.
During school, I had shadowed at Acadia for a day. Watching what other billers do helped me feel ready to take on tasks during internship. Acadia is a third-party biller; they review claims before sending them to insurance companies. You’d never imagine what goes into a visit to the doctor’s office or hospital. Seeing behind the scenes was intriguing—who gets paid, how much the insurance company gets paid compared with what the patient has to pay.
Figuring out why something has been denied is like solving a puzzle.
I like puzzles. I had thought I would be spending most of my time sending out bills. Instead, my work is resolving denials. My job is to spot errors that would cause the insurer not to pay the claim.
MTTI prepared me to know what questions to ask and where to find answers.
The coding I learned helps me prevent denials. Once I identify the problem, for example, if I see that a modifier is wrong, I will replace it with the right one to ensure the bill gets paid. My customer service skills from years of waitressing help me talk with healthcare providers and other third party insurance companies or clearing houses. I also post payments and make sure the payments go to our bank.
When on the last day of internship I was offered a full-time position, I felt relieved.
I knew during the program that I had made a good choice. I was on the right track, because I was working at something I wanted to do. Being hired confirmed for me that I was doing the job right. That really turned on the light for me—‘I can do this’!
MTTI’s 7-month program goes by fast—and the school provides lots of employment assistance.
At the end I felt it was worth it; my hard work had paid off. I like having a business job. I like the Monday through Friday schedule—steady hours, benefits and steady income. This is the right path for me. I have a career for the future that will enable me to build financially—to buy a house, and someday retire. Beyond providing for my family, I’m hoping that by training for and being successful in this career, I will be positive role model for my daughter.
Rebecca with Instructor, Dawn Tavares, at graduation.
Rebecca and her classmate display coding manuals.
Career Services Specialist, Shawn Barnes, presents Rebecca with her Kindle Fire, awarded for obtaining employment within 90 days of graduating.