David Wolf succeeds with Grace

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

GULFPORT, Miss. – Earlier this year, provider David Wolf added conversion vans to his product offerings. He failed miserably, but he won't be deterred.

"We couldn't sell them for whatever reason," said Wolf, founder of Grace Healthcare. "It was more car than health care. We are always trying new things. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't."

Mostly, it works. In April, Wolf celebrated 20 years of business. 

These days he offers a full line of durable medical equipment, supplies and oxygen, but he got his start cleaning catfish processing plants. That evolved into cleaning hospitals, which turned into selling medical equipment. In 2001, he founded Grace Healthcare.

"It evolved from myself with one van and two cell phones to the company that it is today," said Wolf.

Grace Healthcare now has 93 employees in five locations: Gulfport, Pascagoula, Poplarville and Biloxi, Miss.; and Pensacola, Fla. It does more Medicaid than Medicare despite the former’s often lower reimbursement.

"A lot of people don’t want to fool with Medicaid, but about 70% of our Medicaid people are under 21," he said. "Grace has never turned down the needs of a child for any reason."

Grace Healthcare submitted bids in Round 2 for several product categories in three areas, as well as for the national mail-order program for diabetes supplies. 

"On the mail order diabetic supplies, talk about an unfair deal. We had to get licensed in every state in the Union," said Wolf. "They threw a curve ball at us and we are adjusting to the curve."

Wolf's more enthusiastic about another new venture: a retail website, scheduled to go live in June.

"We plan to put close to 200,000 products online," he said. 

At the end of the day, Grace Healthcare’s mission is to serve its community. In addition to providing services even to those who can't afford to pay, the provider sponsors local sports teams and patient support groups. Wolf makes it all work by keeping other costs in line.

"I don't have to make 100 times what other employees do to be a CEO," he said. "There's no corporate jet. I drive an old vehicle. But I am happy every night."