by Nashville Health Care Council | Dec 09, 2010

NASHVILLE – Executives from the 200 Nashville Health Care Council member companies gathered Tuesday to celebrate 15 years of growth and innovation in the city’s vibrant health care industry with a special panel discussion featuring some of the industry’s original entrepreneurs and a reception at the Country Music Hall of Fame & Museum.

The Council was founded in 1995 by the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce, along with key leadership from business and government to foster the growth of Nashville’s number one industry and to further position Nashville as a global center of health care industry expertise.

Longtime Council leader Ken Melkus, senior advisor, Welsh, Carson, Anderson & Stowe moderated Tuesday’s panel discussion that included nationally-recognized health care executives Dr. Thomas F. Frist Jr., co-founder and chairman emeritus, HCA; Joel Gordon, principal, Gordon Group; Charles N. Martin Jr., chairman and CEO, Vanguard Health Systems; and Clayton McWhorter, chairman, Clayton Associates.

The Nashville health care pioneers discussed the industry’s evolution since the late 1960s, graphically represented by the Nashville Health Care Industry Family Tree, the business environment that created the industry here and a forecast of the future. Highlights from the discussion include:

“Nashville has a good organizational climate with strong role models that have made the startup and success of new enterprises possible. There are many ingredients that have added to the equation of entrepreneurship here. The local and state governments are wonderful supporters of business. We’ve been blessed to have great financial resources here, both from the equity standpoint, startup capital, banks and other lending institutions. They were willing to provide the seed money that grew into HCA and the other outstanding companies we have.”
–Dr. Thomas F. Frist Jr., co-founder and chairman emeritus, HCA

“The Nashville health care industry plays a major role in solving the country’s health care challenges. When Medicare came into existence in 1965, the number of people over 65 hospitalized quadrupled in four years, driving the birth of the entrepreneurial health care industry. With the proposed changes enacted this year, millions more individuals will be able to access health care. Nashville will again lead the way as the system adapts to provide quality care to this new group.”
–Joel Gordon, principal, Gordon Group

“Health care is at top of everyone’s agenda today. The truth is half of our current health care is inappropriate. Evidence shows it’s not contributing to better outcomes. We do things to people and not for them. Health care reform presents a great opportunity for a completely new kind of company – one that can sit at a nexus and provide quality care, good outcomes, great patient experience – not a continuation of what we have done for decades.”
–Charles N. Martin Jr., chairman and CEO, Vanguard Health Systems

“Before the Nashville Health Care Council was formed, we didn’t network with our competitors. Fifteen years ago, we realized it would be a great thing to create a council that could represent not only large hospital systems but smaller companies to provide an opportunity to network, including lenders, legal experts, and others. The strength of the Health Care Council is networking and being able to share with each other. It’s become a big family.”
–Clayton McWhorter, chairman, Clayton Associates

At the reception following the panel, Council Chairman Joey Jacobs accepted a resolution from the Metro Council commemorating the Council’s 15th anniversary from Metropolitan Nashville-Davidson County District 6 Councilman Mike Jameson.

About the Nashville Health Care Council
The Nashville Health Care Council, founded in 1995 as an initiative of the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce, is an association of health care industry leaders working together to further establish Nashville’s position as the nation’s health care industry capital. The health care industry is Nashville’s largest and fastest growing employer, contributing approximately 200,000 jobs and $30 billion to the local economy. Worldwide, Nashville’s health care industry generates $62 billion in revenue and approximately 400,000 jobs. For more information on the Council, please visit www.healthcarecouncil.com.