How America's richest physician became a billionaire

America's richest physician, Thomas Frist Jr., MD, has a net worth of $22.2 billion, according to Forbes' live net worth tracker. 

Forbes assigned Dr. Frist a "self-made score" of 7, meaning he had a hand in starting his own company but got a head start from wealthy parents and a moneyed background. 

Dr. Frist began his medical career as an Air Force flight surgeon. In 1968, he and his father founded Hospital Corp. of America, known as HCA Healthcare. 

In 2011, Dr. Frist took HCA public for the third time following two management buyouts. He still owns about 20 percent of the company today. 

HCA now owns and operates 187 hospitals and 2,000 sites of care across the U.S. and the U.K. While Dr. Frist no longer holds an executive position with the company, his two sons are board members. 

Dr. Frist earned his medical degree at Washington University in St. Louis. He also created the Frist Foundation, which funds a number of efforts, including the creation of Nashville's Frist Art Museum. 

Note: Net worth is accurate as of Sept. 6. 

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