Rehabilitation center operator HealthSouth Corp. plans to spin off its ambulatory surgery center division to form the largest freestanding outpatient surgery center company in America.
According to industry analysts, Birmingham, Ala.-based HealthSouth is targeting the 2003 first quarter for the separation of the ASC division, which includes 209 centers in 37 states that generate more than $1 billion in annual revenue.
The new publicly traded firm will be called Surgical Care Affiliates.
"This decision by HealthSouth certainly validates that the ambulatory surgery center model has come into its own," says Craig Jeffries, executive director of the American Association of Ambulatory Surgery Centers.
HealthSouth officials say they have no strategy in place for the spinoff, and Chairman and CEO Richard Scrushy refused to take questions during an Aug. 27 conference call. According to Jefferies & Co. analyst Frank Morgan in Nashville, Tenn., the dearth of information suggests it will be a complex transaction.