HealthSouth story is not yet complete

Published 12:00 am Saturday, April 5, 2003

The HealthSouth saga will reach far and wide before it is finalized and is yet another tale of corporate corruption and greed.

HealthSouth, the home-spun Alabama company that shot to the pinnacle of the state's business world, has strong ties to the Pike County community.

Federal investigators say the say the company faked some $1.4 billion in profits since 1999, inflating the value of their stock by so doing.

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The HealthSouth story is just another in a growing list of now oft-repeated headlines.

The Enron debacle, the collapse of WorldCom and now HealthSouth has rocked not only the southern states that call them home, but Wall Street as well.

At greatest risk are the small, hometown investors who believed in the company that chairman Richard Scrushy built, and had invested hard-earned money there in hopes of strong retirement earnings.

Institutional investors like the state's retirement system will take it on the chin as well, and that hurts individual employees. It creates large-scale losses that are difficult to make up in retirement portfolios.

Stalwart HealthSouth supporters say, however, the company's not gone, it's just down and will recover.

We certainly hope that is the case. We need HealthSouth and the economic and quality-of- life support it means to so many.