Diane Godek: A resource, not a rep

Thursday, March 31, 2005

NEWINGTON, Conn. — Not being seen as a sales rep by customers is, ironically, a high compliment for the profession. Such is the case with Diane Godek, CRTS, rehab sales rep for Hudson Home Health’s western Massachusetts territory. Customers consider her a troubleshooter, resident funding expert, disabled children’s advocate and pediatric seating authority who just happens to sell rehab equipment.
Everyone working in HME sales agrees that it’s a relationship-based business, and this is especially true for rehab, with its clinical intricacies and funding ambiguities. It takes a special sensibility, desire and commitment to work in this field and Godek excels in all areas, said Sheila Curley, Hudson rehab sales manager.
“Diane has an enthusiasm and love for the job and it shows,” Curley said. “She makes her customers feel important, she keeps them up to date on funding and tells them about what’s going on in the industry. She’s really good, and that’s why she has a loyal following.”
A 20-year HME industry veteran with extensive experience in seating and prosthetic fittings, Godek was attracted to sales because she craved the personal interaction it entails.
It is through this personal interaction that Godek can chart her success as a sales rep. Compassion and empathy for both referral sources and end-users are qualities these customers really appreciate because it demonstrates a complete understanding of their environment.
“Social workers are a major part of my referral base and they are overworked, so I try to relieve them by making myself available to talk to their patients,” she said.
To be sure, rehab sales carry an enormous responsibility. Not only is the rep called upon to thoroughly explain the functionality of complex equipment to both clinicians and end-users, but, more importantly, she must also hunt down the appropriate funding for the sale. Godek’s interpersonal skills have really helped on the funding front, helping her establish relationships with key people who can track CMNs and other paperwork.
“She has an amazing knack for getting the best piece of equipment for each patient within the existing guidelines,” Curley said. “Funding is especially tricky in Massachusetts, so she really goes above and beyond.”
One example of that is how Godek follows up with every Medicaid beneficiary she contacts.
“Massachusetts Medicaid requires a beneficiary to go through an equipment trial before approval,” she said. “So I follow up with them to make sure they use it and that it’s right for them.”
While Godek spends the bulk of her time with end-users and referral sources, she wishes she had more time to spend with payers in order to educate them about the value of high-end rehab equipment. As it stands, lack of coverage stems from lack of knowledge, she said.
“The people making decisions aren’t usually qualified to do so,” she said. “If they were, there wouldn’t be so many crazy policies like only covering a butterfly chest harness every five years."