Richard Lynn "Rick" Scott (born December 1, 1952) is an American politician who is the 45th and current Governor of the U.S. state of Florida. Scott served in the U.S. Navy and then went into business. He earned a business degree and law degree and joined a Dallas firm where he became partner. In 1987 he helped found the Columbia Hospital Corporation with two business partners; this merged with Hospital Corporation of America in 1989 to form Columbia/HCA and eventually became the largest private for-profit health care company in the U.S. He was forced to resign as Chief Executive of Columbia/HCA in 1997 amid a scandal over the company's business and Medicare billing practices; the company ultimately admitted to fourteen felonies and agreed to pay the federal government over $600 million. Scott later became a venture capitalist, and entered into politics in 2010, when he announced his intention to run for Governor of Florida. Having defeated Bill McCollum in the Republican primary election, Scott defeated Democrat Alex Sink in a close race in the 2010 Florida gubernatorial election.
Rick Scott was born in Bloomington, Illinois, and raised in Kansas City, Missouri, where his father was a truck driver and his mother worked as a clerk at J.C. Penney, among other jobs. Scott graduated from high school in 1970, and then attended one year of community college after which he enlisted in the United States Navy. He was in the Navy for 29 months and served on the USS Glover as a radar technician. Scott later graduated from the University of Missouri–Kansas City with a bachelor’s degree in business administration and earned a law degree from Southern Methodist University.In 1972, he married his high school sweetheart, Ann. As of early 2009 the couple lived in Naples, Florida.
Scott made his first foray into business while he was in college, buying and reviving two Kansas City donut shops. After graduating from law school, Scott practiced law in Dallas, Texas. He was a partner at Johnson & Swanson, which was the largest law firm in Dallas at that time. One of his major clients was Tom Hicks of HM Capital Partners.
In April 1987, Scott made his first attempt to buy the Hospital Corporation of America (HCA). While still a partner at Johnson & Swanson, Scott formed the HCA Acquisition Company with two former executives of Republic Health Corporation, Charles Miller and Richard Ragsdale. With financing from Citicorp conditional on acquisition of HCA, the proposed holding company offered $3.85 billion for 80 million shares at $47 each, intending to assume an additional $1.2 billion in debt, for a total $5 billion deal. However, HCA declined the offer, and the bid was withdrawn. In 1988, Scott and Richard Rainwater, a multimillionaire financier from Fort Worth, each put up $125,000 in working capital in their new company, Columbia Hospital Corporation, and borrowed the remaining money needed to purchase two struggling hospitals in El Paso for $60 million. Then they acquired a neighboring hospital and shut it down. Within a year, the remaining two were doing much better. By the end of 1989, Columbia Hospital Corporation owned four hospitals with a total of 833 beds.
In 1992, Columbia made a stock purchase of Basic American Medical, which owned eight hospitals, primarily in southwestern Florida. In September 1993, Columbia did another stock purchase, worth $3.4 billion, of Galen Healthcare, which had been spun off by Humana Inc. a few months before. At the time, Galen had approximately 90 hospitals. After the purchase, Galen stockholders had 82 percent of the stock in the combined company, with Scott still running the company.In 1994, Columbia purchased Scott's former acquisition target, HCA, which had approximately 100 hospitals. In 1995, Columbia purchased Healthtrust, which had approximately 80 hospitals, primarily in rural communities. By 1997, Columbia/HCA had become the world's largest health care provider with more than 340 hospitals, 130 surgery centers, and 550 home health locations in 38 states and two foreign countries. With annual revenues in excess of $23 billion, the company employed more than 285,000 people, making it the 7th largest U.S. employer and the 12th largest employer worldwide. Based on market capitalization, Columbia ranked in the top 50 companies in America and top 100 worldwide. That same year, the company was recognized by Business Week magazine as one of the 50 Best Performing Companies of the S&P 500.
On March 19, 1997, investigators from the FBI, the Internal Revenue Service and the Department of Health and Human Services served search warrants at Columbia/HCA facilities in El Paso and on dozens of doctors with suspected ties to the company.Following the raids, the Columbia/HCA board of directors forced Scott to resign as Chairman and CEO.He was paid $9.88 million in a settlement. He also left owning 10 million shares of stock worth over $350 million.In 1999, Columbia/HCA changed its name back to HCA, Inc. In settlements reached in 2000 and 2002, Columbia/HCA plead guilty to 14 felonies and agreed to a $600+ million fine in the largest fraud settlement in US history. Columbia/HCA admitted systematically overcharging the government by claiming marketing costs as reimbursable, by striking illegal deals with home care agencies, and by filing false data about use of hospital space. They also admitted fraudulently billing Medicare and other health programs by inflating the seriousness of diagnoses and to giving doctors partnerships in company hospitals as a kickback for the doctors referring patients to HCA. They filed false cost reports, fraudulently billing Medicare for home health care workers, and paid kickbacks in the sale of home health agencies and to doctors to refer patients. In addition, they gave doctors "loans" never intending to be repaid, free rent, free office furniture, and free drugs from hospital pharmacies.In late 2002, HCA agreed to pay the U.S. government $631 million, plus interest, and pay $17.5 million to state Medicaid agencies, in addition to $250 million paid up to that point to resolve outstanding Medicare expense claims. In all, civil law suits cost HCA more than $2 billion to settle, by far the largest fraud settlement in US history.
After the forced departure from Columbia/HCA in 1997, Scott launched Richard L. Scott Investments, based in Naples, Florida (originally in Stamford, Connecticut), which has stakes in health care, manufacturing and technology companies. Between 1998 and 2001, Scott purchased 50% of CyberGuard Corporation for approximately $10 million. Amongst his investors was Metro Nashville finance director David Manning. In 2006, CyberGuard was sold to Secure Computing for over $300 million. In February 2005, Scott purchased Continental Structural Plastics, Inc. (CSP) in Detroit, Michigan. In July 2006, CSP purchased Budd Plastics from ThyssenKrupp, making Continental Structural Plastics the largest industrial composites molder in North America. In 2005-2006, Scott provided the initial round of funding of $3 million to Alijor.com, which offered hospitals, physicians, and other health care providers the opportunity to post information about their prices, hours, locations, insurance accepted, and personal backgrounds online. The company was founded with his daughter Allison. In 2008, Alijor was sold to Healthgrades, Inc. In May 2008, Scott purchased Drives, one of the world's leading independent designers and manufacturers of heavy-duty drive chain-based products and assemblies for industrial and agricultural applications and precision-engineered augers for agricultural, material handling, construction and related applications. Scott reportedly has an interest in a chain of family fun centers/bowling alleys, S&S Family Entertainment, in Kentucky and Tennessee led by Larry Schmittou, one of baseball's legendary minor league owners.
In 2003, Scott invested $5.5 million in Pharmaca Integrative Pharmacies,which operates drugstores/pharmacies that offer vitamins, herbal medicine, skin products, homeopathic medicines, and prescriptions. Other investors in Pharmaca include Tom Stemberg, founder and former CEO of Staples, and Arthur Blank, co-founder of Home Depot.
In the 1990s, Scott was a partner of George W. Bush in ownership of the Texas Rangers.
In February 2009, Scott founded Conservatives for Patients' Rights (CPR), which he said was intended to put pressure on U.S. Democrats to enact health care legislation based on free-market principles. As of March, Scott had given about $5 million for a planned $20 million ad campaign by CPR. CPR opposes the broad outlines of President Obama's health-care plans and has hired Creative Response Concepts, a public relations firm which previously worked with the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth among others.
Governor of Florida
Rick Scott ran against Democratic nominee Alex Sink. On April 9, 2010, Scott announced his candidacy for the 2010 Republican Party nomination for Governor of Florida. Susie Wiles, former communications chief to Jacksonville Mayor John Peyton, served as his campaign manager, and Tony Fabrizio was his chief pollster. It was reported on May 7 that Scott's campaign had already spent $4.7 million on television and radio ads. Scott's first video advertisement was released to YouTube on April 13.During the primary campaign, Scott's opponent, Bill McCollum, made an issue of Scott's role at Columbia/HCA. Scott countered that the FBI never targeted him. Marc Caputo of Miami Herald contended that a 1998 bill sponsored by McCollum would have made it more difficult to prosecute Medicare fraud cases, and is counter to his current view and allegation. Scott won the August primary with approximately 47% percent of the vote, compared to 43% voting for McCollum, with McCollum conceding the race after midnight. By the October 25, 2010 Tampa debate between Scott and Alex Sink, Scott had spent $60 million of his own money on the campaign compared to Democratic opponent Alex Sink's $28 million. The Fort Myers News Press quoted Rick Scott as saying in total he spent $78 million of his own money on the campaign. Rick Scott ultimately won in the general election for Governor of Florida, defeating Alex Sink by around 68,000 votes, or 1.29%.
Rick Scott assumed office as the 45th Governor of Florida on January 4, 2011.
On February 16, 2011, Scott rejected $2.3 billion in federal funding to develop high-speed rail between Tampa and Orlando. Scott cited concerns about ridership and cost overruns. In response, a veto-proof majority in the Florida Senate approved a letter rebuking Scott and asking the Department of Transportation to continue funding. On February 18, United States Senators from Rhode Island Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse sent a letter to Ray LaHood, the United States Secretary of Transportation, to ask LaHood to redirect some of the rail funding intended for Florida to Rhode Island. Reed and Whitehouse said the money would improve Rhode Island's rail system and provide jobs in the state. On March 1, 2011, two state senators filed a petition with the Florida Supreme Court to compel Scott to accept the rail funds on the grounds that Scott lacked constitutional authority to reject funds that a prior legislature approved. On March 4, 2011, the Florida Supreme Court held that Scott's rejection of the rail funds did not violate the Florida Constitution.
Following his rejection of Central Florida's High Speed Rail project, Rick Scott moved to have the Florida Department of Transportation amend its work plan to include $77 million for dredging the Port of Miami to a depth of 50 feet. Once the port is dredged, Panamax-sized vessels coming through the expanded Panama Canal could load and unload cargo there.
May 11th, 2011