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    Repiglican Roast

    A spirited discussion of public policy and current issues

    Name:
    Location: The mouth of being

    I'm furious about my squandered nation.

    Sunday, June 17, 2007

    Remember the Kitten Killer, Frist? Why health care costs are out of control in the US

    Hospital Corporation of America (HCA) is the largest private operator of health care facilities in the world. It is based in Nashville, Tennessee, United States and is widely considered to be the single largest factor in making that city a hotspot for healthcare enterprise.

    The founders included two members of the Frist family, which became very wealthy as a result. The former majority leader of the U.S. Senate, Bill Frist is a member of the family and has a substantial stake in the company. Most of his $20 million (or more) personal fortune was made through his holdings in HCA. Jack O. Bovender, Jr., is the Chief Executive Officer of HCA.

    During the 1970s-1980s the corporation went through a tremendous growth period acquiring hundreds of hospitals across the United States which numbered 255 owned and 208 which HCA managed.

    In the late-1990s, after a merger with Louisville-based Columbia Hospital Corporation which formed Columbia/HCA, the company was investigated by the government for Medicare and Medicaid fraud and paid a settlement of $1.7 billion, the largest fraud settlement in US history at the time. Then-CEO Rick Scott resigned but no criminal prosecutions resulted.

    The name subsequently reverted to "Hospital Corporation of America." HCA abandoned the use of its name in its home market and instead promotes its Nashville hospitals under the TriStar brand.

    On June 13, 2005, Senator Frist reportedly instructed the trustee managing his HCA shares to sell all of his stock. The sale took place in July, two weeks before disappointing earnings sent the stock on a 15-point plunge. In November 2006 HCA was acquired by Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, Bain Capital and Merrill Lynch Global Private Equity in what was, at the time, the largest leveraged buyout (LBO) in history, adjusted for inflation.

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