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Longtime Customer Service Rep Becomes Medical Billing and Coding Graduate

Sep 08, 2014

Mary Wilson was a customer service representative for a major auto glass company when she was told that she no longer had a job due to a loss in profits.  Her daughter encouraged her to go to back to school, she did some online research, and found the Columbus Campus of American National University. 

She met with an admissions representative and determined that studying health information management was her calling.  She found out that American National University “had been around since 1886, so they must know what they are doing,” said Mary.  She knew that she needed a smaller learning environment.  “I wanted a place where if I have a question, I’m not in a sea of 100 because 9 times out of ten, I wouldn’t ask a question because I’m in a sea of 100.” 

Her favorite class was medical terminology.  “Stephanie List is excellent,” said Mary.  “I understood everything and now know where all of the body parts are.”  Mary broke her ankle the day of exams and literally told the ER doctor which bone she had broken!  She explained to him that she had a medical exam that night and he asked if he could give her an automatic ten points because she knew the bone that she broke.  She hobbled to class and took the exam that night. 

Even though she has graduated, she still frequently returns to the Columbus Campus to sit in on classes.  She recently visited an ICD-10 class as it was not offered when she was a student.  Her instructor had told her to feel free to come back because it would get her ready for when ICD-10 is released.  (ICD-10 is a new electronic health records system that will be adopted in the near future.) 

“This was the best decision for me and I am super excited,” said Mary.  “I still have classmates here and I always tell them to call me if [they] have any questions.  I came back at 40 and graduated at 42.  I am the youngest of ten and the only one with a college degree.  If I can do it, anybody can do it.”

“I’ve made a lot of connections here,” said Mary.  “It is good for networking.”  Mary added that before she attended National, she had been out of work for two years.  “I put that associate’s degree on my résumé and I have calls (for jobs) weekly,” said Mary.  “Now that I have my degree, there are so many doors that are opened.  Coming back to school has changed me…period.  It made me more open to what I can do and what I can accomplish.”

Instructor Judith Jones said that Mary has now found permanent employment as a patient account representative with Intermedix, an ambulance and emergency medical service.  “She is tasked with submitting a patient's charges to their insurance company for reimbursement,” said Judith.  “Mary also answers an influx of telephone calls from patients explaining how their bill was processed, in an effort to determine patient responsibility.”

Mary Wilson determined that health information management was her career goal.

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tags: MEDICAL Medical Billing and Coding