Great Strides 2008
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Q+A: CF Services: A Tradition of Serving Patients

Wayne Gabbert
Assistant Manager for Customer Support

This year, CF Services, Inc. celebrates 20 years of fast, friendly and reliable service to patients with CF and their families. But the full-service pharmacy does more than just deliver medications. Behind the scenes, customer service reps like Wayne Gabbert, assistant manager for Customer Support, staff the phones, answer patients’ questions, and even intervene with insurers. Wayne talked to Commitment about the role CF Services reps play every day in reaching out to customers and helping the pharmacy to run smoothly.

What are some of the common questions patients calling CF Services ask?

Insurance coverage comes up a lot. Customers want to know if their plan will cover medications from our pharmacy, and what their options are if they have no coverage. We help with all of this. One of our internal slogans in Customer Services is “No patient should have to go without medication.”

Probably the most common question is “Can I place an order?” Customers have the option of ordering via our Web site and through our automated voice line, as well. But most people still want to talk to a live person! A lot of people ask about the status of their order, if it has been shipped and when they’ll receive it. We also hear, “What medications do you carry?” and “Can I get my other medications, not related to CF, at your pharmacy?” The answer to that, by the way, is “Yes. We carry a full line of medications.” 

Did you have special training to become a CF Services rep?

Yes. There’s a Web site called “Telephone Doctor” that we access to learn about how to be a good customer services rep in general. But groups of new employees also sit down with the manager of each department in the Foundation to learn about that department’s specific role. Every new service rep also “shadows” an experienced rep on several calls to learn what to expect and how to handle calls thoughtfully. Finally, we have a “bible”—a training manual that answers lots of questions about how CF Services works.

What’s the most difficult thing about being a CF services rep?

We work really hard to help patients get insurance coverage. We often need to contact the physician to facilitate pre-authorization or get them to write a letter of medical necessity on a patient’s behalf. We also follow things up on the insurance end to find out and inform the patient when authorization goes through. It can be tough, because it sometimes takes time—and a little extra patience—to get the authorization we need, and we want to get the meds out quickly.

Do you ever not know the answer to a patient’s question? 

Sure, that happens. We don’t want to keep someone on hold a long time, though, because that can be just awful! When I don’t know something, I take the customer’s phone number, do a little quick research, and call back within the hour with an answer.

What do you like about the job?

That’s easy; I like the fact that I know I’m helping patients. I can just tell by their responses how appreciative they are, and it makes me feel great about what I do.

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