Scott is a graduate of the University of Missouri, Kansas City and of Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law. In 1987, after serving in the United States Navy and becoming a law firm partner, he co-founded Columbia Hospital Corporation. Columbia later merged with another corporation to form Columbia/HCA, which eventually became the largest private for-profit health care company in the United States. Scott was pressured to resign as chief executive of Columbia/HCA in 1997. During his tenure as chief executive, the company defrauded Medicare, Medicaid and other federal programs. The Department of Justice ultimately fined the company $1. 7 billion in what was at the time the largest health care fraud settlement in U. S. history. Scott was not charged with any crime. Following his departure from Columbia/HCA, Scott became a venture capitalist and pursued other business interests.