By Erica Wright
The Birmingham Times
NaphCare Inc. may have the former Cooper Green Mercy Hospital to thank for its birth.
Birmingham-based NaphCare—which provides correctional services in more than 70 local, state, and federal facilities across 27 states—has more than $300 million in annual revenues and 2,000-plus employees.
Jim McLane, who founded the company in 1989 and is now chairman of the board, was a chief pharmacist at Cooper Green Mercy, then the Jefferson County-owned hospital for the poor on Sixth Avenue South. Eventually, he took over Dewberry Drugs on Second Avenue North, a drugstore that had been in this family, and started filling prescriptions as part of a jail contract in Georgia. That’s when he learned how companies were providing care to inmates in prisons and jails and decided he could do more.
McLane’s son, Brad, joined the company in 2016 and has been CEO since January.
“We’ve steadily grown across the country, and one thing we’ve found is that once you get one contract in a state and do a good job, a lot of times the sheriff of that county will talk to their friends. We get more business that way,” said the 48-year-old McLane, who served nine years with the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, D.C., handling litigation at the trial and appellate court levels prior to joining his family’s business.
Brad McLane earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee, and a law degree from the Georgetown University Law Center in Washington, D.C. His dad asked him to join the family-owned business.
“My [younger] brother, [Jeff], had been working with dad and was going to take over the company someday, but he died unexpectedly [in November 2016 in a car fire in his garage],” McLane said. “It was a really hard loss for all of us. He was a part of this company for a long time, so it was a very hard loss, something you never really get over.”
After the loss of his brother, McLane was asked to come work for the company.
“Initially, I resisted,” McLane said. “I had a lot to learn because I hadn’t worked in health care before, and I hadn’t worked in jails. … My dad convinced me to take on the challenge, and it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.”
McLane said, “I love the company, the people who work here, the patients we get to care for. Every day, I know we’re having a huge impact, … and that’s what really matters. It’s something I’m passionate about.”