Press Release

Nurses spotlight HCA profiteering at founding family’s Nashville gala

Large group of nurses holding protest outside of Frist Art Museum

Frist Gala underwritten by founding family of hospital megacorporation with reputation for prioritizing profits over patients

Dozens of registered nurses employed by HCA Healthcare (HCA) will travel from around the country to greet attendees of the 2023 Frist Gala in Nashville, Tenn. Handing out informational flyers and accompanied by a mobile billboard, they will call attention to the Frist family’s troubling stewardship of HCA, which operates nearly 200 hospitals in 20 states.

The nurses, who are affiliated with National Nurses United (NNU), have been leading a years-long campaign to hold HCA accountable to its workers, patients, and communities. Their efforts have led to heightened national scrutiny on unsafe patient care conditions at HCA hospitals, including a recent bombshell NBC Nightly News exposé and regulatory scrutiny from Democratic and Republican lawmakers.  

“Underneath the glitz and glamor of tonight’s event are the dirty operations of HCA Healthcare,” said Pascaline Muhindura about the company that made the Frists billionaires. Muhindura is a registered nurse at HCA-owned Research Medical Center in Kansas City, Miss. “HCA’s growing presence nationally has made the Frists unseemly wealthy – at the expense of patients, nurses, and health care workers, and the communities they live and work in.”

  • Who: Registered nurses employed at HCA facilities nationally
  • What: Action to spotlight HCA profiteering at founding family’s annual gala
  • When: Saturday, April 15, 5:00 p.m.
  • Where: Frist Art Museum, 919 Broadway, Nashville, Tenn.

The Frist family underwrites the eponymously named gala, an annual black-tie event at the Frist Art Museum that attracts corporate and philanthropic leaders across Tennessee. The Frists themselves own approximately 25 percent of stockholder shares in HCA, making them the largest shareholders of the biggest for-profit hospital conglomerate in the United States. The company made nearly $5.6 billion in profits last year alone.

While HCA likes to tout its charity, it has only donated .77 percent of its profits since 2020 – less than a dollar for every $100 in profits. Meanwhile, Mission Hospital in Asheville, N.C., charged privately-insured patients more than 300 percent of Medicare, on average, according to a North Carolina state analysis.

“The Frists have incredible power and enormous financial resources to improve patient care and protect nurses and health care workers at their facilities,” said Hannah Drummond, RN, who works at HCA-owned Mission Hospital in Asheville, N.C. “Instead, the Frists and HCA executives continue undermining health care outcomes across the country.”

In 2022, HCA repurchased over $7 billion in stock – instead of investing their profits back into their hospitals to support more robust nurse staffing. Share buybacks only further line the pockets of executives like CEO Sam Hazen and the Frists. Drummond continued, “Don’t just take our word for it – national media and lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have been paying attention to HCA executives’ irresponsible and negligent management.”

Drummond and other members of NNU have been some of the fiercest advocates for safe patient care conditions at HCA facilities. Their actions have led to unprecedented regulatory scrutiny across state and federal governments, including:

  • In April 2022, the Federal Trade Commission and Department of Justice held a hearing on the impacts of mergers and acquisitions and invited Kelley Tyler, a registered nurse from Mission Health and NNU member, to testify on how HCA is using its market power to raise prices and slash services.
  • In June 2022, the Federal Trade Commission sued to block HCA’s acquisition of five hospitals in the Salt Lake City area shortly after RN Kelley Tyler’s testimony, citing that the proposed deal was anticompetitive and would lead to higher prices and reduced quality of patient care. 
  • In March 2023, Florida Republican lawmakers Sen. Marco Rubio and Rep. Gus Bilirakis slammed HCA following a damning NBC News report on the substandard patient care at Bayonet Hospital, including reports of cockroaches in operating rooms of the Hudson, Fla. facility.

“We want Frist Gala participants to understand that the Frists’ influence goes beyond Nashville and Tennessee and the art world,” said Maureen Zeman, an RN at HCA-owned Good Samaritan Hospital in San Jose, Calif. “Their actions are negatively impacting our patients and our communities’ health all over the country. Supporting the arts is a good cause but ultimately, this is window dressing for a family and company that are failing to deliver the health care outcomes it is responsible for.”

National Nurses Organizing Committee is an affiliate of National Nurses United, the largest and fastest-growing union and professional association of registered nurses in the United States with nearly 225,000 members nationwide.