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San Joaquin Valley College Blog

After Battling an Autoimmune Condition, This SJVC Grad Found the Medical Billing and Coding Program a Good Fit

December 29, 2020

After Battling an Autoimmune Condition, Phillip Weiss Found the Medical Billing and Coding Program a Good FitPhilip Weiss began his career path in cooking and catering, but when an autoimmune condition put him in the hospital, he started to reconsider his career. He became a stay-at-home parent, and when he was ready to work again, he spoke to a family member, whose career is medical billing and coding. He thought it sounded like a good fit for him—it was a job he could do remotely if necessary, and there was the possibility for advancement. Shortly after, he contacted San Joaquin Valley College for more information on their Medical Billing and Coding program.

He started the Medical Billing and Coding program at SJVC in February of 2020 and completed in September. He was a bit nervous to start because he had never done classes online, but he ended up really liking it.

“The online program really suited me,” he says. “Being a stay-at-home dad with two kids—I could be flexible and still spend time with my family.”

Phillip began looking for a job right after graduation, but he had restrictions as to when he could work since his son was doing online distance learning with preschool, his daughter’s daycare was shut down, and his wife was working. He reached out to Eileen Saenz, his Career Services Advisor, to get help on finding a remote position.

“Working with Career Services was awesome,” he says, “Especially when I started interviewing—I hadn’t had a job interview in years. She was very supportive and engaged, she was always following up. I kept her informed as Covid restrictions freed up and my situation changed.”

He applied to a couple of places they found, but it took some time to find the right one.

“Luckily, we were able to put my son into school and daycare opened up,” he says. “It was timing—that’s when I got the interview.”

Phillip interviewed with Stockton Hematology and Oncology in Stockton, CA for an Insurance Verification Specialist position.

“The interview went great,” says Eileen, “but when he hadn’t heard back from the employer, he started to feel discouraged. I offered to follow up with the employer on his behalf, but he insisted that he would like to speak personally with the hiring manager. After doing so, he learned that he did not get the insurance verification position because he does not have the experience they needed to fill that position, but because he interviewed so well, they created a position—and they hired him!”

Phillip is now an Interim Authorization Coordinator at Stockton Hematology and Oncology. He works onsite, regular hours, Monday through Friday.

“I love working in the medical field and absolutely love where I work right now,” he says. “I really like my coworkers; some have worked in oncology for 15 years or more and are extremely passionate about it. I actually know about chemo infusion—one of the things they do there—because I have to get infusions for my autoimmune disease. It’s fulfilling to be part of someone’s treatment and road to hopefully recovery.”

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