Interview with Carl Pollard, September 10, 2014

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries


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00:00:00 - Introduction

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Partial Transcript: Well, Mr. Pollard, I, I appreciate you, uh, agreeing to do this interview, uh, for the Nunn Center.

Segment Synopsis: Carl Pollard describes his early life, born on a farm to tenant farmers near Lancaster, Kentucky. He discusses several moves his family made during his early life between different farms before moving to Lancaster to attend school.

Keywords: Churchill Downs; Danville (Ky.); Humana; Outhouses; Public school system; Quaker State Oil Company; Somerset (Ky.); Stockyards; Tenant farmers

Subjects: Childhood; Education--Kentucky; Lancaster (Ky.)

00:05:24 - High school and college education

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Partial Transcript: Which is interesting because then you, when you came to UK, you know you studied business but you know, you later on went, uh, the financial route.

Segment Synopsis: Pollard talks about a job he had early in life bookkeeping for a stockyard. He says after high school graduation he entered University of Kentucky. He talks about various colleges he considered attending including Centre College and North Carolina. He says he hitchhiked to Lexington and enrolled without a major.

Keywords: Accounting; Bowman Hall; Breckinridge Hall; College entrance examinations; Haggin Hall; High school; Stockyards

Subjects: Education--Kentucky; University of Kentucky

00:13:31 - Choosing accounting as a profession

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Partial Transcript: I mean at some point, I mean your first job was an accounting job professionally, um--

Segment Synopsis: Pollard discusses working his way through college at Kroger. He describes the process of signing up for interviews for recruiting with several Big 8 accounting firms. He says his first job was with Yeager, Ford & Warren as an accountant.

Keywords: Arthur Anderson; Big 8; Coopers & Lybrand; Deloitte & Touche; Ernst and Ernst; Kroger Incorporated; Price Waterhouse Coopers; Yeager, Ford & Warren

Subjects: Employment--Kentucky; University of Kentucky

00:18:47 - Becoming a CPA and transitioning to Humana

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Partial Transcript: I signed up for an interview, went to Louisville, three of us from the, uh, accounting class drove up together, and uh, uh, had interviews, took a test...

Segment Synopsis: Pollard talks about traveling to Louisville with two classmates for interviews and testing before receiving a job offer from the accounting firm. He talks about the organization of the firm for which he worked, and his transition to working at Humana by virtue of an old family relationship at the firm. He discusses recalculating depreciation in a complicated tax case which led to his introduction to David Jones. He says the timing of the introduction coincided with Jones and Wendell Cherry deciding to build nursing homes, which led to his firm being hired to handle the accounting for that new business.

Keywords: Central Rock Mineral Company; Certified Public Accountant (CPA); Depreciation; Humana; Internal Revenue Service (IRS); Nalley Companies; Partnerships

Subjects: Accountants.; Accounting.; Employment--Kentucky

00:27:48 - Chief Financial Officer at Humana

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Partial Transcript: So, in 19--you said they were primarily a nursing home, um, in that beginning, um, and you were managing those accounts, which I didn't know.

Segment Synopsis: Pollard describes the early growth of Heritage House Nursing Homes in Louisville and Lexington, and the process of reorganizing various partnerships into a single holding company. He talks about making partner with his firm in 1966 and the nursing home holding company going public the next year. He describes the complicated process of taking the renamed company Extendicare public.

Keywords: David Jones, Sr.; Extendicare Inc.; Heritage House of America; Isaac W. Burnheim; Wendell Cherry

Subjects: Accountants.; Accounting.; Humana, Inc.

00:33:35 - Extendicare becomes Humana

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Partial Transcript: So, so you started at Extendicare in 1968--

Segment Synopsis: Pollard talks about Extendicare's acquisition of hospitals beginning in 1969. He says a decision by California Governor Ronald Reagan to cut Medicare to balance the state budget led the company to sell their nursing homes and keep hospitals.

Keywords: Medi-Cal; National Health Enterprises; Ronald Reagan

Subjects: Humana, Inc.

00:39:49 - Humana acquires University of Louisville Hospital

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Partial Transcript: Talk about what the climate was at that time with healthcare; and the example I was going--I'm going to have you elaborate on is the 1982 U of L, um, hospital.

Segment Synopsis: Pollard talks about Humana's acquisition of the University of Louisville Hospital. He describes how Humana negotiated for more money for the indigent care fund. He discusses how the advent of Medicare in 1966 changed the healthcare industry, particularly their policy of reimbursing 'on-cost.'

Keywords: David Jones, Sr.; Indigent care fund; Louisville General Hospital; Reimbursement; Wendell Cherry

Subjects: Hospitals--Administration; Humana, Inc.; Medical care, Cost of; Medicare; University of Louisville

00:48:47 - Humana enters the insurance business

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Partial Transcript: So there's a lot of centralization happening, you know, with, with the hospitals at this time. Um, I know at some point there was uh, uh, uh, not a scandal but a little controversy with St. Elsewhere...

Segment Synopsis: Pollard talks about the process of hospital mergers and Humana's decision to transition to a managed care business model.

Keywords: Dr. William DeVries; Health Maintenance Organizations; Jarvik artificial heart; Kaiser Health Incorporated

Subjects: Hospitals--Administration; Humana, Inc.

00:59:36 - Developing the hospital business

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Partial Transcript: You continued on with Galen, and then Galen merged a few times.

Segment Synopsis: Pollard talks about the shortage of talent after Galen Healthcare split from Humana. He says the hospital business also inherited all the debt and most of the assets. He discusses the divestiture of several hospitals in Florida and another company reorganization.

Keywords: Columbia Healthcare; HCA Healthcare; Rick Scott

Subjects: Hospitals--Administration; Humana, Inc.

01:05:55 - Headquarters move to Nashville

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Partial Transcript: How long did you stay involved with, with the company in that capacity?

Segment Synopsis: Pollard describes how he arranged for the headquarters of the newly merged company to be in Louisville. He describes a subsequent merger with a company with headquarters in Nashville. He characterizes the movement of company headquarters as "not honorable."

Keywords: HCA Healthcare; Rick Scott; Thomas Frist

Subjects: Consolidation and merger of corporations

01:09:17 - Career retrospective

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Partial Transcript: Uh, I mean, in the grand scheme of things, your career has been an overwhelming success.

Segment Synopsis: Pollard says he is reluctant to express an opinion regarding the Affordable Care Act because the regulations for administering the act have not yet been drafted. He discusses his involvement in the horse industry through his association with Churchill Downs.

Keywords: Affordable Care Act; Kentucky Derby Museum; Obamacare; Warner Jones

Subjects: Churchill Downs (Louisville, Ky. : Racetrack)

01:15:37 - Advice for business students

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Partial Transcript: Um, because I do want you--we're here at UK, and you're an alum, and you are, you know, uh, very successful at business...

Segment Synopsis: Pollard says he is uncertain what advice to give new business students at University of Kentucky because he is retired from business. He discusses new technology frequently used in business such as email and texting, and he discusses changes in the accounting industry and the opportunities in that profession.

Keywords: Accounting; Big 8 firms; Email; Text messaging

Subjects: Accountants.; Accounting.