hlthe: (pronounced healthy) The first and only healthcare currency platform to unite people, donors, nonprofits, corporations, and medical providers to fix healthcare.
Hlthe cash, a new fully trackable healthcare currency, paid for medication and out-of-pocket surgery costs.
At first glance, Dave Graybill seems an unlikely candidate to create a high-tech cure for America’s ailing healthcare system.
He’s a one-time ASU baseball star and Olympian, a retired firefighter with two decades of service, and the founder of the grassroots charitable organization, Pink Heals. Oh, and he’s likely the only guy you’ll ever meet who hit a golf ball all the way across America.
Yet the way Graybill sees it, it’s precisely that unconventional resume that led him on the path to create hlthe, a people-powered healthcare payment tool that he thinks can disrupt, and ultimately transform, America’s healthcare system.
“Clearly the politicians can’t fix healthcare, and neither can the medical and healthcare establishments ,” Graybill says. “hlthe puts the power in the hands of the people in a way that it can be a win-win for both the patient and the healthcare provider. That’s new, and it has the potential to change the way we pay for healthcare in this country.”
Here’s how hlthe works. Anyone can sign up for a free membership and start saving or raising money that converts to “hlthe cash” that can be used to pay for healthcare—and healthcare only. What sets hlthe distinctly apart from other crowdfunding platforms is it relies on state-of-the-art blockchain technology that can track donations from the moment they are made to when electronic payment goes to a doctor or pharmacist.
Another key difference-maker — hlthe donations are tax deductible. So for the first time, individuals, organizations and businesses can have 100 percent certainly that their money is going to pay for medical care, while also getting a tax write off. The range of hlthe applications include:
“What continues to amaze me about hlthe is it’s one of those rare ideas that gets better the more you think about it,” says Graybill’s business partner, Satish Kalala, an entrepreneur who has successfully launched a half-dozen successful startups in recent years. “A lot of ideas seem great at first, but when you dig deeper all these barriers start popping up. With hlthe, the exact opposite happens, the possibilities multiply, which is why I became a believer in its unlimited potential.”
For Graybill, 56, hlthe in many ways represents the culmination of his life’s work built around the consistent theme of helping others.
“I just always got a rush out of helping people and making them happy,” Graybill says. “When other kids were giving the third-grade teacher some knick-knack for Christmas, I was asking my mom to sew her a dress just so I could see her smile. When I started throwing no-hitters in Little League, my motivation wasn’t to become a big star, it was because my coach would buy the team a pizza to celebrate and I just liked seeing my teammates enjoying their pizza and having fun.”
His teams were extremely well fed. Much like his father, an ASU sports legend, Graybill was an exceptional baseball player. At ASU he excelled as a pitcher, landing a spot on the U.S. Olympic team roster and later becoming the 42nd overall pick MLB pick with Montreal Expos. Yet, like so many that get to the brink, Graybill blew out his arm, leaving him looking for a way to make a living that didn’t involve hurling a ball 94 miles per hour.
He ended up choosing a career as a firefighter with Glendale Fire Department. The job offered security, good benefits and paid the bills for his young family. The firehouse had the familiar comradery of a baseball clubhouse, and, of course, the job scratched Graybill’s itch for helping others.
And indeed, as a firefighter and first responder, Graybill loved to help people in need. Yet, as the years passed, he started thinking there was more that could be done beyond helping people dealing with an emergency. He saw those struggling from chronic illness or devastated by accidents or fires, and wondered what became of them after the fire trucks and ambulances returned to their stations.
So Graybill did what anyone looking to make a difference might do. He cooked up a plan to drive a golf cart across America to raise money and draw attention to his mission of helping children and those in need. He got some corporate sponsors to buy in and convinced fellow firefighters to donate some of their vacation time and headed off on a 7-month odyssey from Santa Monica Ca. to New York City, whacking a golf ball through 18 cities along the way.
“I was at a time of my life where I had this strong urge to make a difference, but really didn’t know the way to go about it, so I came up with a crazy idea and just made it happen,” Graybill says. “That’s the way I am.”
While Pink Heals continues to do good works, a few years back Graybill once again was nagged by the thought that there had to be a way to do more to help the people. He’d see large high-profile charities hold fundraisers that would collect buckets, of money. Meanwhile, Pink Heals was making home visits to those suffering from disease and could do little more than offer a helping hand and words of comfort.
“These big charities would be having these lavish fundraisers for cancer research, and I’d be on Pink Heals visit to a woman dying of cancer,” Graybill says. “She is dying, she has nothing left, no furniture, she had to sell it all just to get money to live. So she is there in an empty house alone in a hospital bed. She can’t take care of herself, and all this money is being raised for research, but there is nothing that can help her? There’s something wrong with this country when that’s going on in communities everywhere.”
Graybill started obsessing on the idea that there had to be a better way to get money for good healthcare directly to those who desperately needed it. One day it hit him: You can give someone a gift card for just about any product or service. Why not gift cards for healthcare? He started floating the concept past people he trusted. Over time, the idea evolved into what today is hlthe, a transparent and trackable online system that ensures every dollar goes to cover healthcare—and healthcare only—for those who need it.
Hlthe gained traction when Graybill connected with Kalala through a friend. After hearing about the idea, Kalala was intrigued enough to book a flight from Detroit to Phoenix and meet Graybill in person. Within a half hour, the men had a handshake agreement to partner on the initiative.
For Kalala, it was an uncharacteristically impulsive move – more like something Dave would do.
“It wasn’t just the concept, but Dave himself,” Kalala says. “He’s like no one I’ve ever met. He’s totally committed to helping others and will do whatever it takes to make it happen. From a business perspective, we’re complete opposites, but together I think we make a great team.”
After more than a year of development, hlthe is now live and starting to build momentum. Several hlthe members have launched fundraisers, healthcare providers are signing up, and Graybill and Kalala are busy lining up meetings with potential partners and investors.
As the business grows, Graybill likes to say that he’s committed to ‘staying in his lane.; In other words, looking for ways that hlthe can help those who need it most.
“I truly believe that hlthe offers a fix for our healthcare system,” he says. “It’s the only platform out there that unites donors, patients, providers, nonprofits and communities in a way that benefits everyone. Hlthe puts the way to fix healthcare into the hands of those who truly have the power to find a sustainable solution—the people. If I can help make that happen, then I’ve done my part.”