HealthSouth CEO and chief compliance officer to address Auburn MBA students

AUBURN – HealthSouth president and CEO Jay Grinney and chief compliance officer Cleaster “Cle” Ewing will address Auburn University MBA students Aug. 19 and 26, respectively, about business ethics and how HealthSouth handled a much-publicized financial crisis.

Grinney will speak to students in the Physicians Executive Masters of Business Administration program Aug. 19, followed by Ewing addressing Executive Masters of Business Administration students Aug. 26.

“This is a great opportunity for our students to learn about the importance of business ethics and how the actions of a few can affect an entire organization,” said Achilles Armenakis, Auburn’s James T. Pursell Sr. Eminent Scholar in Ethics and director of the Center of Ethical Organizational Cultures in the College of Business. “We are preparing a case study about HealthSouth for students to review before the talks.”

HealthSouth, based in Birmingham, Ala., is one of the nation’s largest providers of inpatient rehabilitative healthcare services. Operating in 26 states across the country and in Puerto Rico, HealthSouth serves patients through its network of inpatient rehabilitation hospitals, outpatient rehabilitation satellite clinics and home health agencies.

In 2003, federal investigators raided HealthSouth’s headquarters and uncovered a $2.7 billion fraud under the former CEO, dating back to 1986. In 2006, ex-HealthSouth CEO Richard Scrushy was convicted of six bribery counts, while former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman was convicted of bribery, conspiracy, mail fraud and obstruction of justice. Scrushy was accused of making payments to Siegelman in exchange for an appointment to the state certificate of need review board. Siegelman served as governor from 1999 to 2003.

Grinney, who became president and CEO of HealthSouth in 2004, will discuss with Auburn students how the company handled the accounting fraud and worked to restore its financial viability and reputation.

Prior to joining HealthSouth, Grinney worked in senior management positions with HCA Inc. or its predecessor companies from 1990 to 2004. He was president of HCA’s Eastern Group from 1996 to 2004, president of the Greater Houston Division from 1993 to 1996 and chief operating officer of the Houston region from 1992 to 1993.

Ewing, who was named chief compliance officer in June 2010, will talk about internal controls that have been implemented to prevent unethical business practices.

She served previously as chief compliance officer for HealthSpring Inc., one of the largest Medicare Advantage-coordinated care plans, based in Franklin, Tenn. She also worked 11 years as vice president of corporate compliance, clinical and regulatory compliance and governmental affairs at American Home Patient Inc.

Auburn’s Center for Ethical Organizational Cultures, established in 2008, works with companies to assess their business practices and to develop protocols for maintaining ethical management practices. Auburn Alumnus benefactor James T. Pursell Sr., founder of Pursell Technologies Inc. in Sylacauga, presents an annual award to fund the center. In 1998, he began supporting Auburn’s Eminent Scholar in Ethics position and program to help emphasize the significance of ethics to students.

(Written by Charles Martin.)

Contact: Dina Kanellos, (334) 844-2203 (, or
Charles Martin, (334) 844-9999 (