Richard M. Scrushy - Career and HealthSouth

Career and HealthSouth

In the late 1970s, following his time teaching at UAB and Wallace State Community College, Scrushy was offered a position with Lifemark Corporation, a Houston, Texas based health care company. Within a few years of being hired at Lifemark, Scrushy was running a 100-million-dollar operation that included the pharmacy, physical rehabilitation, and hospital acquisition divisions. While working for Lifemark, Scrushy moved to St. Louis, Missouri, where he worked as the regional director of the respiratory therapy division. He then moved to Houston where he became the company's chief operating officer.

Still working for Lifemark, Scrushy devised a plan for an outpatient diagnostics and rehabilitative health clinic chain. He presented the plan to Lifemark, but the company was unable to act on it due to a company merger that was already underway with American Medical International. Scrushy left Lifemark in 1983 and founded Amcare, Inc within a year. The new company opened its first facility in Little Rock, Arkansas and had initial capital between $50,000-$70,000. With the assistance of four partners from Amcare Inc. and a one million dollar investment by Citicorp Venture Capital, Scrushy took the quickly growing company and founded HealthSouth in 1984. Two years after its founding, HealthSouth became a publicly traded company in 1986. The next year, HealthSouth expanded into two new fields, worker’s compensation and sports medicine, allowing the company to double its earnings and obtain assets close to $100 million. By the early 1990s, the company had expanded even more, with facilities in each of the 50 U.S states and revenues in excess of $181 million.

Over the next decade, HealthSouth’s sports medicine programs received international attention by being linked to star athletes including Bo Jackson, who served as the president of HealthSouth's Sports Medicine Council, Roger Clemens, Jack Nicklaus, Kyle Petty, Michael Jordan, Shaquille O'Neal, and Lúcio Carlos Cajueiro Souza. At its height, HealthSouth employed more than 50,000 physicians, was the "nation's largest provider of outpatient surgery and rehabilitative and diagnostic healthcare services", and had over 2,000 facilities in the United States, Puerto Rico, Australia, and the United Kingdom. HealthSouth facilities worldwide saw more than 120,000 patients daily, and with earnings around $106 million in 1997, Scrushy was the third highest paid CEO in the United States.

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