One of the biggest names in Nashville’s health care industry died over the weekend. Clayton McWhorter was 82 years old. He either started or led a half-dozen companies, including HCA, HealthTrust and PharmMD.
In his later years, he founded a health reform advocacy group, and McWhorter became somewhat critical of an industry that made him one of the richest businessmen in the city.
“I sort of believe we’ve got a system where we don’t want you to get well or die, because either way we lose a customer," McWhorter told WPLN in 2012. "Let me say, good people have made a lot of money off a flawed health care system. It's fee for service. If you're selling trinkets, you've got to sell a lot of them, I hate to say it, but we're selling medicine."
McWhorter was also active in politics, primarily as a Democratic donor. But he also nearly ran for governor in 1994.
McWhorter trained as a pharmacist at Alabama’s Samford University, where the pharmacy school is now named after him. He's also given millions of dollars to Belmont University. Ingram Barge named one of its vessels the R. Clayton McWhorter.
Whenever you hear folks talk about the origins of Nashville's "health care industry," Clayton McWhorter is one they are talking about.
— Keel Hunt (@KeelHunt) January 24, 2016
TN lost a true gentleman & entrepreneur. We will miss Clayton McWhorter's leadership, guidance & vision. https://t.co/jDNJfpDxJe
— Marsha Blackburn (@MarshaBlackburn) January 24, 2016
Saddened by the passing of Mr. Clayton McWhorter, a steadfast UT supporter, former Trustee & member of the UTFI board & President’s Council.
— UT President (@UTPresidentJoe) January 25, 2016
Among the many things Clayton Mcwhorter taught me - give back, do the right thing, love your family, and know who your true friends are
— Clay Stauffer (@PreacherClay) January 24, 2016