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Leadership Style at Hospital Corporation of America

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Leadership Style at Hospital Corporation of America
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Leadership Style at Hospital Corporation of America - May 11th, 2011

Hospital Corporation of America (HCA) is the largest private operator of health care facilities in the world,[1] 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 of HCA included two members of the Frist family, who became multi-billionaires as a result.[2] The former majority leader of the U.S. Senate, Bill Frist is a member of the family but sold all his HCA shares in 2005. Most of his $20 million (or more) personal fortune was made through his holdings in HCA. Richard M. Bracken is the CEO of HCA.
"Four years ago, Jack Bovender and I returned to the company and began a thoughtful process to refocus our strategic direction, restructure our assets and organization, change our operating strategy and style, and implement a values-based, patients-first culture," said Dr. Frist, Jr. "These initial goals have all been achieved, and the executive management team that we have put together over the past four years has led HCA to new levels of success. It is now time to begin an orderly transition of HCA's leadership team that will guide this company to even higher levels of achievement in the coming years."

"The naming of Richard Bracken as Chief Operating Officer and Sam Hazen as President -- Western Group, effective today, allows Richard and Sam to assume their new operations leadership positions before we begin our annual planning and budgeting process for 2002," said Bovender. "Richard and Sam have done an outstanding job leading our Western Group as President and Chief Financial Officer, respectively, over the past four years. They are respected healthcare leaders both within our company and throughout the hospital industry."

"The elevation of Jack Bovender to Chairman of the Board, effective January 1, 2002, is further recognition of Jack's invaluable strategic and operational leadership of HCA since his return in 1997," said Dr. Frist, Jr. "As a member of the Board and one of HCA's largest shareholders, I will continue to work with Jack, Richard and the other members of HCA's outstanding Board of Directors."

Biographical information on Bracken, Hazen, Bovender, Jr. and Dr. Frist, Jr. follows:

Richard M. Bracken

Bracken (48) started his career with HCA in 1981 and has held various executive positions with the company, including chief executive officer of Green Hospital of Scripps Clinic and Research Foundation in San Diego, from 1986-1991, and chief executive officer of Centennial Medical Center in Nashville, from 1991-1993. In 1995, he was appointed president of HCA's Pacific Division, which had responsibility for all hospital operations in California. In 1997, he was named president of Western Group Operations. In this position, he was responsible for all hospital operations west of the Mississippi, which currently include approximately 80 hospitals and represent annual revenues in excess of $9 billion. Bracken serves on numerous boards, including the Board of Directors of the Federation of American Hospitals. He received his bachelor's degree from San Diego State University in 1974 and his master's degree in 1977 from the Medical College of Virginia. He resides in Nashville with his wife Judith and their four children.

Samuel N. Hazen

Hazen (41) began his career with Humana in 1983, and through the various mergers he has been with the company for almost 19 years. He has held various financial operations positions throughout his career with the company, including chief financial officer at Sunrise Medical Center in Las Vegas and various multi-facility positions at both the division and group levels. In 1995, he was named to his present position as chief financial officer of the Western Group Operations. Hazen received a bachelor's degree in finance from the University of Kentucky in 1982 and a master's degree in business administration from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas in 1988. He and his wife, Glenna, live in Nashville with their two sons.

Jack O. Bovender, Jr.

Bovender (55) is a 31-year veteran of the healthcare industry and has worked at HCA for more than 20 years. He began his hospital administrative career in 1969 as a lieutenant in the United States Navy stationed at the Naval Regional Medical Center in Portsmouth, Va. He later served as CEO of Medical Center Hospital in Largo, Fla., and West Florida Regional Medical Center in Pensacola, Fla., both owned by HCA. From 1985 to 1992, he held several senior-level positions with HCA, division president of the Atlanta Division and president of Eastern Group Operations. In 1992, he was named executive vice president and chief operating officer of HCA. Following HCA's merger with Columbia in 1994, he left the company to serve on various public and private company boards, before returning to HCA in the summer of 1997 as the company's President and Chief Operating Officer. He was named to HCA's Board in 1999 and promoted to President and Chief Executive Officer in January 2001. Bovender currently serves on numerous civic boards. He received his bachelor's degree in psychology from Duke University in 1967 and his master's degree in hospital administration from Duke University in 1969. He and his wife, Barbara, live in Nashville. They have a son, Richard, who is a senior at Syracuse University.

Thomas F. Frist, Jr., M.D.

Dr. Frist, Jr. (62) founded Hospital Corporation of America, or HCA, in Nashville in 1968 along with his father, the late Dr. Thomas F. Frist, Sr., and the late Jack C. Massey. He served as Executive Vice President of Development until 1977, when he was named President. In 1987, he became Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer. Upon the merger of HCA and Columbia in early 1994, he served as Chairman of the Board. In early 1995, he became Vice Chairman following the company's merger with HealthTrust. On July 25, 1997, he returned to the company and was named Chairman and CEO by the Board. He served on the Board of IBM from 1984-1995, and has been a member of the Business Council since 1987. He is Chairman of the Board of The Frist Foundation and founder of The Frist Center for Visual Arts in Nashville. He is past chair of the Board of Governors of the United Way of America and was founder of the United Way's Alexis de Tocqueville Society in 1981. He serves of the Board of Montgomery Bell Academy in Nashville, is a past Chair of the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce, and is currently Chair-elect of the Nashville Healthcare Council. Dr. Frist, Jr., received his bachelor's degree from Vanderbilt University in 1961 and M.D. degree from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis in 1965. He served as a flight surgeon in the U.S. Air force from 1966-1968. He and his wife, Trisha, are both natives of Nashville and have three children and five grandchildren.

This press release contains forward-looking statements based on current management expectations. Those forward-looking statements include statements other than those made solely with respect to historical fact. Numerous risks, uncertainties and other factors may cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed in any forward-looking statements. These factors include, but are not limited to, (i) the outcome of the known and unknown governmental investigations and litigation involving the Company's business practices, including the ability to negotiate, execute and timely consummate definitive settlement agreements in the government's civil cases and to obtain court approval thereof, (ii) the highly competitive nature of the health care business, (iii) the efforts of insurers, health care providers and others to contain health care costs, (iv) possible changes in the Medicare and Medicaid programs that may impact reimbursements to health care providers and insurers, (v) changes in Federal, state or local regulation affecting the health care industry, (vi) the possible enactment of Federal or state health care reform, (vii) the ability to attract and retain qualified management and personnel, including affiliated physicians, nurses and medical support personnel, (viii) liabilities and other claims asserted against the Company, (ix) fluctuations in the market value of the Company's common stock, (x) ability to complete the share repurchase program and to settle related forward purchase contracts, (xi) changes in accounting practices, (xii) changes in general economic conditions, (xiii) future divestitures which may result in additional charges, (xiv) changes in revenue mix and the ability to enter into and renew managed care provider arrangements on acceptable terms, (xv) the availability and terms of capital to fund the expansion of the Company's business, (xvi) changes in business strategy or development plans, (xvii) slowness of reimbursement, (xviii) the ability to implement the Company's shared services and other initiatives and realize a decrease in administrative, supply and infrastructure costs, (xix) the outcome of pending and any future tax audits and litigation associated with the Company's tax positions, (xx) the outcome of the Company's continuing efforts to monitor, maintain and comply with appropriate laws, regulations, policies and procedures and the Company's corporate integrity agreement with the government, (xxi) increased reviews of the Company's cost reports, (xxii) the ability to maintain and increase patient volumes and control the costs of providing services, and (xxiii) other risk factors detailed from time to time in the Company's filings with the SEC. Many of the factors that will determine the Company's future results are beyond the ability of the Company to control or predict. Readers should not place undue reliance on forward-looking statements, which reflect management's views only as of the date hereof. The Company undertakes no obligation to revise or update any forward-looking statements, or to make any other forward- looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

The most innovative idea in the world isn’t worth a nickel if you don’t execute it properly.

That was the central message of Richard M. Bracken, president and COO of Hospital Corp. of America, the world’s largest private operator of health care facilities, in his keynote luncheon address at the 29th annual Tulane Business Forum.

The forum, an annual presentation of the Tulane Association of Business Alumni, took place on Friday, Oct. 17, at the Hilton New Orleans Riverside. More than 700 local business leaders attended this year’s event.

The theme of this year’s forum was innovation, and Bracken used the opportunity to discuss some of the innovative ideas that have guided the growth of HCA.

“You really don’t get the chance to do big, earth-shattering ideas in every environment, but a lot of really good things come from small changes,” Bracken said.

He cited a program HCA initiated to reduce hospital-acquired infections, a major problem in the health care industry. By creating a simple program that encouraged clinicians to wash their hands more frequently-and executing that program effectively by involving clinicians, administrators and even patients in the process-HCA was able to reduce infections inside its hospitals dramatically.

“Surgical-acquired infections went down by half,” Bracken said. “Bloodstream infections went down by about a third. We had stunning results. This is a fine example that small changes can lead to big gains.”

Bracken also discussed some of the innovation-related mistakes HCA has made over the years, including a 1995 effort to streamline its supply chain in the style of Wal-Mart. HCA made the mistake of implementing that change in operations from the top down, and the company ended up paying the price.

“It was a great idea, but it was poorly executed,” Bracken said. “It went nowhere in a hurry, not because the idea was wrong but because the execution was wrong.”

Bracken said that HCA went back to the drawing board and re-implemented the effort, this time from the bottom up, and the streamlining program became a success.

“Innovation is really a leadership problem,” Bracken added. “It’s not a problem with your employees. It’s about embracing it and structuring it and putting it where it’s going to have some chance for success.”

Bracken, a Tulane parent, got a laugh at the beginning of his presentation by praising Tulane University as a leader in innovation, not so much for its role in the recovery of New Orleans or the transformation of public education but for the transformation of his two sons.

Bracken showed the audience two sets of photos of Richard Bracken Jr. (L ’09) and Robert Bracken (A ’08). In the first set, Richard, with a guitar perched on his lap, looked up from beneath a mop of shaggy hair while Robert smiled blissfully while traveling in South America. In the second set of photos, both Richard and Robert were cleanly shaven and wearing coats and ties.

“Tulane worked some pretty serious innovation on these guys,” Bracken said. “It took me about two months to get this second set of pictures done, but my great thanks to the faculty of Tulane and their respective colleges for really working some magic on these fellas.”

In addition to Bracken, this year’s forum featured a wide range of speakers addressing the role of innovation, including retired Maj. Gen. David M. Mize of Apogen Technologies/QinetiQ, Debra Neill Baker and Edwin Neill III of Neil Corp., William F. Borne of Amedisys, Jim Bridger of New Orleans Public Belt Railroad, Todd M. Hornbeck of Hornbeck Offshore Services Inc., and Matthew M. Wisdom of TurboSquid Inc.

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