Patients Are People Not Product Lines American Health Culture Arrives In Australia – 12 December 1997

The Australian Doctors’ Fund warned Australians today to prepare themselves for the introduction of American health culture following the recent acquisition of Cedar Court Physical Rehabilitation Hospital in Melbourne by US health care giant HealthSouth Corporation.

HealthSouth’s Internet web site ( states “HealthSouth currently has 20 pathways for product lines, including stroke, brain injury, spinal cord injury, neurological, general rehabilitation, amputee, orthopaedic, pain and ventilator.”

Executive Director of the Australian Doctors’ Fund, Mr Stephen Milgate, said “US corporations bring with them a total change in health care culture. They carry strong profit motivations. Their strategies for patient care include shorter hospital stays.”

“It is now very clear that the Federal Government is happy to have US corporations buying up Australian private hospitals. It is yet to be seen whether this will extend to public hospitals as well.”

“Now Australian health fund and Medicare dollars will leave Australia as dividends for American shareholders. We are no longer selling off the farm, we are selling the hospital bed as well” Mr Milgate said.

HealthSouth Corporation operates over 1600 health care facilities in the United States and the United Kingdom and is the US’s largest provider of outpatient surgery and rehabilitative health care services.

According to the US Jenks Healthcare Business Report Survey “Richard Scrushy, Chairman and Chief Executive of HealthSouth Corporation is the healthcare sector’s best paid CEO. The founder of the Birmingham, Alabama, rehabilitation services company received $US 11.4 million in total 1996 pay, including a bonus of $US 8 million.”

HealthSouth’s Internet web site also states that “HealthSouth continues to prove that it provides excellent care at a lower cost.”