Health Care Hall of Fame Past Inductees
Thomas F. Frist Sr.
Inducted in 1990
Thomas F. Frist Sr. once said, “It's not mortar and equipment that make a hospital. It is the warmth, compassion and attitude of good employees that leads to quality care.” Frist is best known as the creator of Hospital Corporation of America, a for-profit healthcare system. He started the system in 1968 with his son, Thomas F. Frist Jr., who is also in the Healthcare Hall of Fame, and Jack C. Massey, a Nashville businessman. At its peak in 1987, the chain that would later be known simply as HCA owned or managed 500 hospitals across the country. At the time, for-profit healthcare was considered a radical idea. On the day that HCA had its initial public offering, shares jumped from $18 to $46 the first day of trading.In the late 1980s, Frist became vice chairman and chief medical officer of the company with an eye toward quality. Having been a patient numerous times in his life—from having a broken neck to a heart attack and two bypasses—Frist said that he knew what was important in a hospital. As CMO of HCA, Frist pushed for total quality management, a concept of W. Edwards Deming's, that added value at each step of delivery.