Within months of HCA’s founding, two additional hospital companies spring up in Nashville. The first, General Care Corp., is started by former University of Kentucky basketball player Joel Gordon, who will go on to create the first chain of outpatient surgery centers in America in Surgical Care Affiliates. Gordon launches General Care as a small nursing-home operator but quickly reads the market and reinvents the organization as a chain of hospitals.
One of General Care’s lasting impacts on the industry is its model of turning local physicians into primary shareholders for its new hospitals. Despite arguments against the apparent conflict of interest (doctors unnecessarily sending patients to their hospitals), the 1980s would see this model expanded nationally — most notably by Rick Scott’s Columbia.
Charlie Martin, serving as General Care’s COO, will go on to hold senior positions at HCA, its rural-hospital spinoff, HealthTrust Inc., and launch several hospital companies of his own, including OrNda and Vanguard Health Systems.