Douglas Pierce has dedicated his life to healthcare. He has been working in the industry for nearly 25 years.
Today, Douglas Pierce is the proud founder and chief executive officer of Prescription Hope, which is headquartered in Stuart, Florida. Pierce attended Cedarville University in Cedarville, Ohio, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in Business Communications. Less than a year after graduating from college, he began working at a health insurance brokerage. While this allowed him to get his foot in the door, he was not passionate about the job. In fact, it broke his heart to hear from so many clients who were struggling to pay for the basic medications they needed for their health. That is where the idea for Prescription Hope came from. Douglas Pierce wanted to help the millions of American who are forced to skip doses or have to choose between medication and putting food on the table.
Prescription Hope was founded in 2006 and every day since then, it has been striving to make prescription medication affordable for all Americans. In the last 14 years, Prescription Hope has helped over 80,000 Americans, saving their clients a combined total of over $300 million. They have also partnered with over 35,000 healthcare providers and worked with major state and local healthcare organizations, including the Cleveland Clinic, Henry Ford Health Systems, and Novant Health Systems.
Tell us a little about your industry and why you chose to found Prescription Hope.
The healthcare industry is by far one of the most important industries in the United States, so I don’t take my job lightly. The gravity of the situation that many of my clients are in when they first come to us can definitely weigh heavily on me. I hate that there are so many Americans who struggle to pay for the medication that they need to function and survive. Ultimately, that is why I chose to found Prescription Hope. Although the American healthcare system is one of the best in the world, it still has its flaws. My intention with the company is to find solutions to some of the key problems posed by our current healthcare system, namely the high cost of brand name prescription drugs.
What surprised you the most when you started your career, what lessons did you learn?
The healthcare sector is giant and it can be really difficult even to get a meeting with a major company or organization. Although I knew I wanted to build my company through partnerships on the local and national level, I had no idea how hard this was going to be. The main lesson I learned here is that I needed to grow my company more before I could even get in the same room with these major organizations. And there is nothing wrong with that. In fact, it made me work more closely with smaller, local organizations in Ohio and Florida and I formed some incredible relationships from these partnerships.
What is one piece of advice you would give someone starting in your industry?
Talk to as many people as possible. In order to understand how the healthcare system in the United States operates, you need to have an idea of how it works for all different groups of people in society. Get in touch with people of different ages, races, and genders, and understand what they like about the current system and what they don’t like. That is what I did when I first founded Prescription Hope and it really opened my eyes to some of the different ways that people across the country are struggling to have their healthcare needs met. Hearing about other peoples’ experiences motivates me to work harder at my job each and every day.
How would your colleagues describe you?
I think they would describe me as being personable and having a good sense of humor, but also being serious when necessary. Our work relates to the health of Americans, and there is nothing more important than that. So, while I try to be approachable with my staff, there is a time and a place for joking around. Often the work we do is extremely serious, perhaps even a matter of life and death, so I can be firm when I need to be.
How do you maintain a solid work-life balance?
I learned early on in my career that if I wanted to have a fulfilling home life, I needed to leave work at the office. Of course, on occasion during a busier time of year, I do end up doing a bit of work at home, but generally, as soon as I walk through my front door I turn off notifications on my phone and leave my laptop in my bag.
Who has been a role model to you and why?
My mother has always been my role model. She is the most loving and supportive person you could ever know. She is one of the main reasons I decided to start my company. Before I created the company, my mom was prescribed a medication that was going to wipe out everything my parents had in savings. I felt I had no choice but to figure out how I could help them, as there was no way I was letting my mother go bankrupt because of a prescription medication she needed to get healthy. After doing a ton of research, I eventually found a solution in the form of patient assurance programs offered by pharmaceutical manufacturing companies. It was the low cost alternative that my parents needed; however, the whole process was a bit confusing to figure out. Out of a desire to reduce the cost of prescription medication, coupled with what I saw as a need to streamline the patient assurance programs process, I founded Prescription Hope. Today, my mother is healthier than ever and continues to support me in every way possible.
What is one piece of advice that you have never forgotten?
You can’t build a successful team based on potential alone. Although potential in any individual candidate is important, they need to have the skills, experience, and desire to back it up. I have always given my employees a chance at Prescription Hope, but I also closely track their growth to better understand whether they really are going to be successful at their job or if they aren’t reaching their potential quickly enough.
What does success look like to you?
Success for me is helping hard working American people be able to easily afford the medication they need. Success is when my clients don’t have to worry about how they’re going to pay for their medication, when they don’t have to make an impossible choice between buying food or paying rent, and being able to afford their medication. On a larger scale, success to me is also having the healthiest population of citizens in the world.
What is one piece of advice you would like to leave our readers with?
If you’re an entrepreneur like me, I’ve learned the hard way that hiring specialists is always better than hiring generalists. Look for candidates that know a lot about a specific role, rather than ones who have a small amount of experience across the board. It will serve you much better in the long run if you have a team where each team member is an expert in their field.