Danielle Joly, 2019 MBCOA Graduate
Medical Billing Specialist at Accurate Billing in Warwick, RI
Employed as an event barista at a local zoological park, Danielle wanted a more stable career.
She hoped to find a position in which she’d eventually be able to work at home. Danielle talked with her best friend’s mom, Amy, about what kind of work she wanted to do. An Admissions Representative at MTTI, Amy thought the Medical Billing and Coding program might be a good fit for her.
Visiting the school Danielle says she liked how ‘cozy’ it felt.
“I could easily find my way around and locate the classroom, which lessened my anxious feelings." During her teacher interview, Danielle found the Instructor, Janet Roccabello, easy to talk with. “Right away, we had a good connection. Ms. Roc really listens to understand who you are. She told me the course would be difficult, and would require a lot of studying.”
Ms. Roc recalls her first meeting with Danielle.
“I don’t pull any punches—I’m not going to sugar coat it for any prospective student. I told Danielle that sometimes I’ll be carrying the heavy load and sometimes she would. Delivering coding information is on me, to make sure students learn it. MS Word and Excel—that’s on you.”
Danielle told Ms. Roc, “I’m resilient. I have a thirst for knowledge. So bring it on.”
She has good reason to be confident. Danielle is one of about 300 people in the US living with a specific rare bone condition. “Growing up, I recognized I wasn’t a ‘normal kid’. Every day brought new challenges. Waking up in the morning, I couldn’t be certain what the day would bring. So I know I can handle pain. I have the ability to take devastating news, feel sad—and be able to pick up and keep going.”
The Medical Billing and Coding course definitely challenged Danielle.
“Ms. Roc delivered on her promise that Coding would be difficult to learn—but that she would make sure we understood it. You really need to know how to use your CPT (Current Procedural Terminology) manuals to choose the correct procedural codes. I liked using my mind in new and dynamic ways to correctly code special circumstances.”
Danielle learned to accept she wasn’t always going to do as well as she would like.
“The Integumentary system (skin, hair, nails, oil and sweat glands) nearly did me in. It’s cool, though, to learn how the body works. A lot can go wrong in the body—but I’ve gained a new appreciation of how much goes right!”
Ms. Roc says, “Some days, Danielle would really make me laugh.”
“When Danielle—or any student—does poorly on a test, I tell them, ‘Let’s celebrate our mistakes—because mistakes are how we learn.’ After a test that was particularly tough for her, she’d say, “I’m celebrating big time today!”
Danielle says support from her classmates and Ms. Roc got her through difficult days.
“Ms. Roc took time to go over things; she was able to present information in different ways to help us understand. My classmates and I were really there for one another—whether we needed a shoulder to cry on or to share a good laugh.”
“The class gave a lot to Danielle; she, in turn gave a lot back,” Ms. Roc says.
“We helped Danielle come out of her shell. In the class, she made real friends. She experienced what it is like to be in a safe and supportive environment. Although she didn’t complain about her pain, when she presented her PowerPoint project, she used it to teach us about her bone condition.”
Danielle says, “Shawn in Career Services was really helpful to me.”
“He showed me how to find places to contact for internship—and prepared me for what to expect when I visited them. Interning at Accurate Billing, everyone was warm, friendly and patient in showing me things; I quickly became comfortable. What they expected me to do was similar to what we had learned at school—data entry, billing and posting payments. School can’t simulate exactly what each site will require. Even though they used different software than we did in school, I was able to take what I had learned and apply it at a different setting. I knew I was doing well when they offered me, on the 2nd or 3rd day of internship, a paid position.”
Danielle is pursuing additional education, while she’s gaining experience on the job.
“I decided to earn an Associate’s Degree in business administration and accounting at a community college. By the time I have completed the degree, I will have solid work experience in the medical industry. Someday I may want to own my own business. Right now, I love working alongside the supportive staff and owners of Accurate Billing—I think I’ll stick around there for a while!”
Danielle says she is excited: “It feels good to take another step in life.”
“Learning from Ms. Roc has built my confidence—not only academically, but it helped transform me personally. I have become more certain about my abilities and what I bring to others. MTTI’s program is challenging but fun— I would do it all over again. I’m enjoying helping people with their health insurance. I’ve personally experienced how confusing health insurance can be—it feels good to be able to guide people in understanding theirs.”
Ms. Roc says, “Danielle is an inspiration for me.”
“She came into my life when I was having a difficult time, after experiencing a personal loss. She helped me put things in my life into perspective. Danielle is determined and persevering—as well as nice to be around. No matter what happens to her, she goes on. She taught us all to look at the discomforts we gripe about and appreciate what real pain is.”
Danielle told Ms. Roc, “You are the grandmother that I don’t have—for life.”
“Danielle touches my heart. Every student I teach is important to me, but in each class there is someone a little special. She is one of the students I will remember for the rest of my life.” Ms. Roc laughs as she qualifies, “And I will remember her for all the right reasons.”