Brothers Take a Leap of Faith

GIRARD – Greg and Sean Davis waded into the import-export business about 15 years ago, purchasing 60,000 handheld alcohol breath testers from China for $9,000.

The brothers had always wanted to have their own business. “We had zero experience, but we read some stuff and thought, ‘Yeah. We can totally do this,’” recalls Greg.

The venture never took off, but the desire to own a business didn’t go away. Later, Greg, who was working as a medical device salesman, noticed that his immediate family had the makings of a small, home health care agency.

His wife was a registered nurse, and Sean was a physical therapist.

In 2012, Sean and Greg, along with family friend Craig Colton, founded Patriot at Home in Girard. Patriot gets its name from the fact that all three are veterans of the U.S. military: Sean and Greg served in the Navy, and Craig served in the Army.

“It was a leap of faith. It was a big move,” says Sean.

The founders faced numerous hurdles in the early days, including balancing full-time jobs and family life while establishing their business. They met with Tony Ianucci at the Warren Business Exchange, which provided them with crucial support, including free office space.

It took a year and a half to gain accreditation, but the community’s support was instrumental to their success.

“It was three to four years of nose to the grindstone, heavy lifting, stressed out all the time,” recalls Greg. “But I think being a local, veteran-owned business helped.”

By the fifth year, Patriot at Home began to gain traction. Today, the company employs 295 and serves patients across nine Ohio counties.

Crews renovate a building in Girard that will house the Patriot hospice and palliative care divisions.

From the initial struggles of managing both patient care and administrative tasks, Patriot at Home has expanded to include divisions including home care, hospice and palliative.

A new 5,200-square-foot building, to house the hospice and palliative care services, is set to open this May. Aside from community support, Sean attributes their success to two factors: “Positive corporate culture and high-quality care. Doing what we say we’re going to do,” he says.

The main pillars of Patriot’s corporate culture are displayed on a wall overlooking the break room and main staircase at their offices. They include character, growth, trust and teamwork.

“We spent about a year distilling it down to something you can articulate to people,” Greg says. “You have to weave that into your entire operation so people start to understand what it is so then they can talk about it.”

The Covid pandemic posed new challenges, from sourcing personal protective equipment to adapting service delivery. While the pandemic has abated and the business has rebounded, Sean says the effects of Covid remain, especially when it comes to hiring.

“I think a lot of people got out of the field. And now hospitals have nursing shortages so they’re paying nurses exorbitant amounts of money to stay at the hospital,” making it harder for other health care providers to recruit.

In addition to nurses, Patriot is looking for therapists and administrators.

“We’re always hiring. If we hire a nurse now, we’ll have her filled up with a caseload in about a week. As many as we can hire, we just keep growing,” Greg says.

Another challenge, Greg says, is that reimbursements from the insurance companies are getting harder to attain.

“Medicare wants to cut reimbursements, Medicare Advantage plans want to cut reimbursements but yet they want more and more from us,” he says.

The gaps the Davises saw in insurance coverage were the main impetus behind their Patriot Cares division, a nonprofit that addresses needs not covered by insurance.

Patriot Care supplies patients with needed medical equipment and other amenities, such as an air conditioner for a Korean War veteran.

“He’s sweltering in his apartment, so we got him an air conditioner,” Greg says.

They also assist with food and medications and provide Make a Wish services for patients in their hospice division.

“Greg and I personally delivered a couch to somebody in downtown Youngstown in an apartment,” Sean says.

From 2020 to 2022, Patriot at Home experienced growth reminiscent of their early years.

“Our growth numbers last year were as big as they were six years ago. We just keep growing and growing,” Greg says.

Looking to the future, the founders of Patriot at Home have ambitious plans. “We want to take the show on the road to other parts of Ohio. We’ll see where that takes us. Maybe beyond Ohio one day,” Greg says.

As Patriot at Home continues to grow, its founders say they remain focused on their mission to treat each patient with the same care and respect they would want for their own family.

“It’s the people,” Greg says. “It’s quality we’re providing but also the culture that permeates out into the community and does great things with people.”

Pictured at top: Brothers Sean and Greg Davis established Patriot at Home in 2012.