It's not a stretch to say that HealthSouth Corp. founder Richard Scrushy was born into the ambulatory-care business.
Scrushy's mother, Grace, was pregnant with Richard in August 1952 when she visited her mother in Florala, Ala., a small town near the Alabama-Florida border. Florala didn't have a hospital, so when Grace went into labor, she went to the local doctor's office and gave birth.
"The next morning, she went home," Scrushy says. "When I think about my whole business, the ambulatory business, 48, almost 49, years ago, we didn't think anything about people not being born in a hospital."
Scrushy, HealthSouth's chairman and chief executive officer, thinks a lot about providing medical treatment outside of a hospital.
Since its founding in 1984, HealthSouth, based in Birmingham, Ala., has grown to become the largest outpatient provider in the country, with operations in all 50 states and Puerto Rico, as well as locations in Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom.
Scrushy believes Health-South has played a major role in the shift of care from inpatient hospital stays to outpatient visits. "I think that we've had a major impact on orthopedics and rehabilitation," he says. "We expanded access to markets that didn't have it. We provided better sports medicine to high school and college athletes. I think we've had a pretty major impact."