Thomas Frist


Thomas Frist Jr. is an American billionaire businessman and philanthropist, best known as the co-founder of Hospital Corporation of America (HCA), one of the largest for-profit hospital companies in the United States. He and his father, Thomas Frist Sr, are well known in the medical world and for their contributions through personal philanthropy and the Hospital Corps of America.

Early life

He was born on June 12, 1938, in Nashville, Tennessee, United States. Frist Jr. was born into a prominent family in Nashville, Tennessee. His father, Dr. Thomas Frist Sr., was a well-known physician and founder of the Nashville-based Hospital Corporation of America (HCA). Frist Jr. grew up in Nashville and attended Montgomery Bell Academy, a private all-boys school in the city.

After high school, Frist Jr. went on to attend Washington and Lee University in Virginia, where he received a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1960. He then earned his medical degree from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1964.

After completing his medical degree, Frist Jr. joined the U.S. Air Force and served as a flight surgeon during the Vietnam War. After his military service, he returned to Nashville and joined his father’s hospital management company, HCA, as a full-time employee.


In 1968, Thomas Fearn Frist Jr. co-founded the Hospital Corporation of America (HCA) alongside his father and Jack C. Massey. After serving as president of HCA in 1977, he eventually became the chairman, president, and CEO in 1987.

He held these positions until 2001 and 2002, respectively, after accepting a $21 billion private equity investment from Bain Capital, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, and Merrill Lynch, taking HCA private. This deal set the record for the largest leveraged buyout and biggest private equity-led IPO of all time. In 2009, Frist stepped down from the board of directors, and his son Billy Frist joined the board. He was replaced as chairman by Jack Bovender.

Frist’s business interests also extended to other areas. He served on the board of directors of IBM from 1984 to 1995, and he was the chair of the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce from 1999 to 2000. Frist is a member of The Business Council and co-founded the China Healthcare Corporation with Charles A. Elcan in 2008, which has business interests in Cixi, China. He is also president of Okeechobee Hospital Inc. and Galen of Florida Inc.

Additionally, Frist is the president of Tomco II LLC, an aircraft company. However, his involvement in aviation has had its share of tragedy. In 2000, Scott Mercy, chairman and CEO of LifePoint Hospitals Inc. and chairman of America Service Group Inc., died in a plane crash. Similarly, in 2006, an aircraft belonging to Frist also crashed.

Inducted into the Healthcare Hall of Fame, he held the position of vice president on Vanderbilt University’s board of trust from 1995 to 1997 and was honored with the distinguished graduates award from the same university. He is the chairman of the Frist Foundation and the Frist Center for the Visual Arts and is actively involved in the Nashville Public Library Foundation. One of his notable accomplishments includes co-founding the United Way Alexis de Tocqueville Society and serving as the board of governors’ chair for United Way of America.

He was also recognized with the Dr. Thomas F. Frist Jr. Excellence in Volunteer Leadership Award and the United Way Lifetime Achievement Award. Recently, Belmont University in Nashville announced the establishment of a medical school named after him, the Thomas F. Frist Jr. College of Medicine, in partnership with HCA’s clinical facilities, branded as TriStar Health.

Thomas Frist Jr. was married to Patricia C. Frist from 1961 until her passing in 2021. They had two sons and a daughter, who is married to investor Charles A. Elcan. The family resides in a luxurious $18-million house located in Belle Meade, Tennessee.

Frist Jr. is considered the wealthiest person in Tennessee, and he has been ranked #35 on the Forbes 400 list with an estimated net worth of $20 billion.

Net Worth

Thomas Frist, Jr. has an estimated net worth of $20.9 Billion as of March 2023.


Thomas Frist Jr. has achieved significant success as a businessman and philanthropist throughout his career. Here are some of his notable achievements and awards:

Co-founded Hospital Corporation of America (HCA) in 1968, which grew to become one of the largest for-profit hospital companies in the United States.
Under Frist Jr.'s leadership, HCA expanded rapidly, growing from a small startup with one hospital in Nashville to a major healthcare provider with over 300 hospitals and other healthcare facilities in the United States and abroad.
In 1997, Frist Jr. stepped down as CEO of HCA but remained actively involved in the company as chairman of the board.
In addition to his work at HCA, Frist Jr. has been involved in numerous other business ventures, including founding Frist Capital, a private equity firm, and serving on the board of directors for several other companies.
Frist Jr. has been a generous philanthropist, donating millions of dollars to a variety of charitable causes, including education, healthcare, and the arts.
He has received numerous awards for his business and philanthropic work, including the Horatio Alger Award, the Tennessee Business Hall of Fame Lifetime Achievement Award, and the Humanitarian Award from the National Conference of Christians and Jews, among others.
Frist was awarded the Golden Plate Award of the American Academy of Achievement in 1984
He also earned Vanderbilt’s Distinguished Alumni Award in 2002
He received the United Way Lifetime Achievement Award in 2012
He is also in the Healthcare Hall of Fame in 2003

Overall, Frist Jr.’s contributions to the healthcare industry and his philanthropic work have made him one of the most influential and respected business leaders in the United States.