UEI College gave Brenda Talley the foundation to build a solid career and today she’s sharing that experience not only with the hospital where she works, but now with Medical Billing and Insurance Coding students as a part-time instructor at the West Covina campus.
An interest in medical billing did not come right away to Brenda. In fact, when a supervisor introduced her to it in 2010, while she was working in the mailroom of a worker’s comp company, and encouraged her to seek training, she put it off. A more lucrative retail position was calling her name and she went for it. It wasn’t until years later, when business at the mall she had been working slumped, that she thought back about that supervisor and opportunity.
“I went home and looked online and UEI College was the first school that came up,” she said. “I went in to UEI and I thought I was just going to go look and see. I went in and came back out that same day with a backpack, uniform and everything ready for school.”
Brenda had never received her high school diploma and the fact that she could earn it while training for a career at UEI was enticing. She also saw the way the instructors and other students were motivated. She enrolled in the Medical Billing and Insurance Coding Program.
“It was really amazing,” she said. “The instructor I had was one of the most caring and motivating instructors. She would go out of her way to make sure the whole class was on the same level. We wouldn’t move to another topic until the whole class understood it. Some students would get it right away, others wouldn’t. At the end of that class everyone was on the same level.”
“She was a go-getter,” said Leonida Vergara, Brenda’s instructor and now the Program Administrator for the Medical Front Office and Billing Program at UEI West Covina. “She knew she wanted it, so she was the student who asked… Once you become an instructor you see the students and the first time, they ask a question, you already know who is going to succeed. You can tell which ones are really determined. She was that student.”
From Student to Graduate, Then Instructor
The hands-on learning is what sealed the deal for Brenda. She recalls having the chance to work on simulations, preparing bills, filing appeals and completing statements. When she began her externship at a small medical equipment company, she was able to apply everything she had learned.
“The owner would come in and tell us when you bill, think of it as your money,” she said. “You wouldn’t want anyone to mess with your money. To this day I have that mentality.”
After graduation Brenda immediately began working full-time as a medical biller. A few years later, she got a call from UEI.
“We needed instructors and she was the first one I reached out to,” Leonida said. “She has the persona. That persona to be a leader. I contacted her and asked her if she wanted to teach and she said definitely, because I want to give back what you gave me.”
“Prior to UEI I used to doubt myself,” Brenda said. “It gave me a better understanding of what I can do and more confidence. I am now able to see that I’m capable of a lot more things.”
Brenda was able to keep her job doing medical billing during the day and is an evening instructor at UEI. She hopes her students leave with all the tools they need to be successful in their new career.
“I grew a love for the students,” she said. “The school offers to get you the basics and a foundation but it’s up to them if they want to build a house with the education the school gave you. With the knowledge and a good understanding of what the medical field has out there being a medical biller, the sky is the limit. I encourage my students to further their knowledge. Don’t stop at UEI. Look into getting certificates and doing more.”