If Richard Scrushy takes his hands-on style to MedPartners for a lengthy period of time, some observers are concerned it could adversely affect HealthSouth, where he serves as chairman and chief executive officer.
The 44-year-old Scrushy is known to be actively involved in all aspects of HealthSouth's business operations, which have enjoyed both expansion and profitability since he founded the company in 1984. He was named chairman and acting CEO at MedPart-ners after Larry House abruptly resigned (Jan. 19, p. 4).
"It sounds like Scrushy is in a temporary caretaker-type role for the time being, but there could be concerns if it's more than that," said Jeff Villwock, senior healthcare analyst at Robinson-Humphrey Co. in Atlanta.
Under Scrushy's watch, HealthSouth has grown into the nation's largest provider of outpatient surgery and rehabilitation services with 1,500 locations nationwide. Annual revenues are about $3 billion.
"It depends on how long it takes to find somebody to run MedPartners and how deep the problems are," Villwock said. "MedPartners is going to need a lot of help."
Scrushy has been a MedPartners board member since the company was formed in 1993, but he hasn't been active in its management. Scrushy controls about 2 million MedPartners shares through his own holdings, his family's and HealthSouth's. He also helped House mine his contacts for financing as the PPM expanded.
Scrushy has been working from the executive offices of both companies. Assistants contacted by MODERN HEALTHCARE at both offices last week said Scrushy was tied up with issues surrounding the recent MedPartners management shakeup and didn't have time to be interviewed.
Fortunately for Scrushy, HealthSouth's and MedPartners' headquarters are only seven miles apart in Birmingham, Ala.
HealthSouth insiders say Scrushy doesn't plan to relinquish or delegate any of his responsibilities at the company.