A 40-year veteran of the health care industry, Jack O. Bovender, Jr. began his hospital administrative career in 1969 as a lieutenant in the United States Navy stationed at the Naval Regional Medical Center in Portsmouth, Virginia. Later, Mr. Bovender served as Chief Executive Officer at two hospitals in Florida owned by Hospital Corporation of America (HCA) and held several senior-level positions with HCA before retiring as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer in 2009.
At HCA, Mr. Bovender fostered an open, patients-first culture, which resulted in significant changes that left a lasting impact on the company and served as a model for the industry. His commitment to expand diversity among health care leadership led to the establishment of the Executive Development Program. This effort to mentor and develop young professionals, many of them minorities, has been responsible for hundreds of individuals successfully advancing to senior positions in the health care field.
Mr. Bovender was a strong advocate for national programs that benefited the uninsured and underinsured long before passage of the Affordable Care Act. He established HCA’s charity care and uninsured discount policy, which enabled uninsured patients to qualify for discounts, or in many cases, outright charity care. Mr. Bovender is credited with leading the heroic rescue of patients, employees and staff from neighboring hospitals during Hurricane Katrina. From command center in Nashville, he led HCA’s team in a massive effort to send supplies and relief until a full evacuation could be launched with planes, helicopters and buses. Thousands of lives were saved, and his actions became a model for disaster response for hospitals.
Mr. Bovender received his bachelor’s degree in psychology from Duke University in 1967 and his masters degree in hospital administration from Duke in 1969. He is the 2007 recipient of the American College of Healthcare Executives’s Gold Medal Award and Duke University’s 2012 Distinguished Alumni Award. He is a founding member of the Nashville Health Care Council and was lauded by Institutional Investor as “Best CEO in America” for health care facilities in 2003, 2004 and 2005.
An outstanding leader, dedicated mentor and committed health care advocate, Jack O. Bovender, Jr. is a 2016 inductee of the Tennessee Health Care Hall of Fame.