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Joel C. Gordon

Photos of Joel C. Gordon from the 2017 HCHOF Program

Joel C. Gordon graduated from the University of Kentucky with a B.S. in business management in June of 1951. After spending three years as an officer in the United States Air Force stationed in Europe, Gordon began his business career in Tennessee in 1955 with the Cain Sloan Company as a merchandise manager. He went on to co-found General Care Corp. in 1969, a hospital management and operating company which was later purchased by HCA, and Surgical Care Affiliates in 1982, a major operator of outpatient surgery centers later acquired by HealthSouth. He also served as a key architect of HealthWise of America, which was acquired by United Healthcare.

Throughout his career, Mr. Gordon worked as a dedicated advocate for health care and was one of the first health care entrepreneurs to introduce the concept of physician ownership/ joint ventures as a business model in hospitals and surgery centers, now a common structure within the industry. He was an early pioneer of freestanding outpatient surgery centers and was one of the first health care entrepreneurs to see growth opportunities in outpatient surgery, a trend that continues to thrive.

As a known health care pioneer, Mr. Gordon served as one of the ten original founders of the Nashville Health Care Council. He was named a distinguished graduate of the University of Kentucky and the University’s Business School Hall of Fame. He was also one of the original members of the Alexis de Toqueville Society of the United Way in Nashville.

Mr. Gordon has received countless honors throughout his life including the United Way’s Alexis de Toqueville Award, the Community Award from the National Conference of Christians and Jews, the Community Foundation’s Joe Kraft Humanitarian of the Year Award and the Tennessee Performing Arts Center’s Applause Award, among many others.

A savvy businessman, dedicated health care advocate and pioneer entrepreneur, Joel C. Gordon is a 2017 inductee of the Tennessee Health Care Hall of Fame.