Susan Adams: Selling education

Thursday, March 31, 2005

RAYMOND, NH — If knowledge is power in the healthcare industry, consider Susan Adams the generator.
As a respiratory therapist who has worked in the respiratory field for 22 years, the LifePlus clinical account manager has accumulated a vast reservoir of information about clinical conditions, therapies, products and Medicare policy. Part of her success as a sales rep rests on her eagerness to share what she knows with those who can benefit most from it.
“Payers, case managers, physicians and fellow RTs have so much to do in their daily routines that they can’t possibly keep up on everything that’s going on,” she said. “They depend on me to fill them in on what they need to know.”
Referral sources often select an HME company based on responsiveness, and constantly providing updates is one way the LifePlus rep demonstrates it. Referral sources also respect Adams because she deftly combines a friendly demeanor with an air of professionalism, said Apria's Life Plus division General Manager April Mason
“Her sales approach is personal and warm, but she knows when to get down to business,” Mason said.
When it comes to determining the most relevant information for referral sources, Adams draws upon her own experience as a hospital-based respiratory therapist. Explanations about the funding procedures, especially those involving Medicare, are among her most frequent requests.
“Clinicians who work inside the hospital aren’t that familiar with how the Medicare system works,” she said. “They need to be told about the rules we follow and the steps we go through, such as prior authorization and coverage approval procedures. It’s not just about getting equipment, but making sure that insurance covers it, showing how we do our best to create options for the patient and following up to secure that equipment for the patient.”
Adams also instructs her referral sources on the economics of advanced technology and how managing disease states using premium oxygen systems provide long-term benefits for the patient, payer and hospital.
“I tell them about how the right system for the patient can prevent future hospital admissions,” she said.
As Medicare and other insurance policies promise to make product provision more difficult in the future, Adams concedes that the educational demands placed on her will only get heavier. Yet that only strengthens her determination.
“I know I’m going to have to stay on top of things more than ever,” she said.