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RCC Alum Meredith Malinsky overcomes obstacles, becomes Certified Professional Coder

When Meredith Malinsky was 18 years old, she set off to attend the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She dreamed of becoming a professional writer and moving to New York City to become immersed in the arts, the lights and sounds, and the culture of the Big Apple.

But as Meredith says, God had a different plan.

Meredith’s time at UNC was short-lived. She became very sick and returned home to seek treatment. Unfortunately, she never got to the point to where she could go back to UNC.  

“I have had anorexia since I was 13,” said Meredith, who has had a painful and difficult road with the disease. “I finally got it under control at 36 and I went back to school at 38.”

Meredith decided to attend Robeson Community College. At first, she took general education courses, thinking she wanted to transfer to a 4-year institution.

“I was very indecisive at first,” said Meredith. “I could not decide upon my path and the time was approaching at a point in my life where I needed to make a decision.”

“I wanted a career; a career has always been important to me. I was at a crossroads, and that’s how I chose medical coding,” she said.

Meredith graduated from the Medical Office Administration – Medical Billing and Coding associate degree program at RCC in 2021. It’s a program that prepares individuals for employment in various medical office settings with an emphasis placed on medical billing and coding in preparing students for the national exam – the Certified Professional Coder Exam.

It’s an exam that Meredith recently passed with flying colors earlier this year.

“I couldn’t have done it without the help of Mrs. Sheila Harris and Scott Lamm. They were a very big part of helping me through the program,” stated Meredith.

“It was quite difficult. I spent several months studying. I ordered all the materials from the AAPC website and allotted time each morning to study. I watched videos, read tutorials and took practice exams,” said Meredith. “It was an exhausting exam; it took four and a half hours to take.”  

But all that studying, and time spent taking the exam, has paid off for Meredith. She says it was all worth her time and energy, stating, “It was a good career move.”

And, she’s right.

The CPC exam is considered the gold standard of medical coding for a career field that’s expected to grow 13% by 2026. Those who earn credentials through AAPC have higher earnings per year, according to medicalbillingandcoding.org.

With the passing of the certification exam, Meredith has a lot to celebrate.

“I have overcome so many things in this battle. I got a second chance at life, which I almost didn’t get. Anorexia took my identity away and stole my dreams,” said Meredith. “I don’t know where this will lead me… I started my education late in life… Education was always paramount, but I had to overcome an obstacle that kept me from my goals.”

Meredith encourages others with eating disorders to not give up, to “keep fighting.”

“Stay hopeful and know that you are worth something, your life has meaning. Don’t give power to the disease,” said Meredith. “The biggest thing is to just totally surrender to recovery… you can overcome this.”

Meredith currently holds the status of an apprentice by the AAPC. She is hopeful to gain employment in the healthcare field so that she can gain experience to add to her resume. She also wants to continue her education so that one day she will be able to teach coding at a community college. She would also like to one day call the Raleigh/Durham/Triangle area home.

 “Sometimes life takes us on a different journey than what we planned,” said Meredith. “This was my cross to bear, but I know God has given me the strength to make it through.”

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