As a medical coder, Julie Brown is responsible for ensuring that U.S. HealthWorks properly bills insurance companies for services provided, which is no easy task.
“It is amazing how detailed and precise Julie is every single day,” said Coni Petty, who is Julie’s supervisor from the Coding and Reimbursement Department in Alpharetta, Georgia.
That precise training comes from Julie’s 20 years spent in the Navy. Stationed in six different states and at eight different bases, Julie was responsible for keeping track of the Navy’s finances at each stop. That included ordering supplies and ensuring bills were paid on time.
“I didn’t want to leave the military,” Julie admitted. “But when it came time to go, the Navy gave me the perfect training to find a job with U.S. HealthWorks.”
While her work is challenging and demanding at times, there’s little rest for Julie when she arrives home. She is the mother of seven children. However, at one point in her young marriage, being a mother was no guarantee.
Husband J’erome Brown was told he would never have kids of his own. So when Julie got pregnant, the couple was a bit surprised.
“My husband asked me jokingly, ‘‘whose kid is it?’” laughs Julie.
With the odds seemingly against the couple, what has transpired is somewhat amazing. Nearly 14 years after the birth of their first child, the Browns now have a large family.
“My husband wanted 13 children once we found out he could have kids, but after we got to five, we realized it was a lot to handle,” Julie confessed.
Raising Michael, 13, George, 11, Donovan, 10, Alex, 8, Solomon, 6, Corban, 5 and Magdalene, 3, is a full-time job for most. But for Julie, it is only half of her responsibilities.
“I’ve always wanted to be in the medical field, but being a doctor or a nurse wasn’t really my thing,” she said.
Since joining the U.S. HealthWorks team in August, Julie has quickly earned the respect and admiration of her co-workers.
“As a mother of seven, you might expect to see her frazzled, coming into the office with messy hair and maybe even slippers,” jokes Petty. “But Julie couldn’t be further from that. She is always on top of things and never misses a beat in her work.”
Julie signed up with the Navy right out of high school in Salem, Oregon, for the opportunity to go to college.
“I thought it would be a great chance to earn money for college, but then I ended up staying in for two decades,” Julie proclaimed.
After she made it through basic training, Julie says the Navy gave her two choices.
“I was given the option to be a cook or go into accounting,” Julie said. “I can’t cook, so it wasn’t much of a decision to make.”
During a training stop in Florida, Julie was introduced to J’erome, a Navy instructor. The two hit it off instantly. Once they married, the couple decided to settle down near J’erome’s family in the Atlanta area. Coming from a big family of 12 children, J’erome wanted his wife and children to be close to his 11 brothers and sisters.
Having so much family close by would have been built-in daycare if Julie had ever been deployed.
“I was told I would be heading overseas 10 times since having our first child,” Julie said. “But each time we packed up and made arrangements for the kids, I was released and was able to stay home. It was quite a relief.”
With a mini Navy of their own at home in Acworth, Georgia, the family is kept on a tight and rigorous schedule.
Between shuttling kids to football practices, karate classes and school, Julie also makes time to volunteer at the Acworth Women’s Center that helps young mothers and their families.
Balancing it all is not easy for the Brown family, but Julie says she wants to set an example for the children.
“I like to show them what is possible if you put in the work. I tell them, ‘I got straight A’s in college while raising all of you, so there is no reason you can’t get straight A’s too!’” she said.
Julie gets a great sense of reward from her time at work and volunteering, but her biggest joy comes when she arrives home.
“After a long day, there is nothing quite like all of the hugs, kisses and art work I get from my kids,” she said.