The separation of church and mistake

  1. By KRIS HUNDLEY, Times Staff Writer
    St. Petersburg Times
    published June 30, 2003

    The head of giant HCA Inc. hospital chain appreciates the importance of a well-placed conjunction.

    During a conference call with analysts in May, Jack Bovender, HCA's chief executive, was asked about the company dropping its contract with Tennessee's Blue Cross, Blue Shield. Bovender said the dispute is particularly touchy because HCA's headquarters is in Nashville, meaning friends, neighbors and total strangers are constantly asking him about the battle.

    "I hear about it at cocktail parties and at church," Bovender said on the call. But a reporter heard the comment differently and quoted the executive as referring to "cocktail parties at church."

    Bovender said he called the local bishop to apologize and was told three preachers were protesting. Three others wanted to join Bovender's church.
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