Former HealthSouth CEO Jay Grinney stands still only to plot his next achievements.
Written by Carolanne Roberts
Raised in Racine, WI, by doctor parents; undergraduate degree St. Olaf College, MN in psychology; M.H.A. and M.B.A. in health care administration and business management respectively, Washington University, St. Louis.
Working with emotionally disturbed children and teens in Tucson; after grad school: Methodist Hospital System, Houston; Hospital Corporation of America, Nashville (President-Eastern Group); HealthSouth, Birmingham (President and CEO)
“I found my career because of a non-degree class in health care administration I took while I was, in a sense, searching after I’d graduated. It was taught by Professor Johnson who took an interest and motivated me.”
WORDS TO HEED
That same professor was “very prescient, in my opinion—he told me the health care industry was moving at a very fast rate toward being more business-oriented than not-for-profit. This was in the ’70s and was huge to consider.”
WHY HEALTH CARE?
“I was involved in social movements in the late ’60s and early ’70s and wanted a career where I could make a difference in society, where I could make a difference with my life—and I did what I set out to do.”
“Starting at HealthSouth immediately following the 2003 discovery of fraud; clean-up and repositioning of the company as its first CEO after the headlines.”
“I came with a high degree of confidence that we could be successful in keeping the company from bankruptcy and position it for ultimate growth. I did not believe that the Medicare system or the Department of Justice wanted to see HealthSouth disappear.”
TACKLES AND BIRDS
The Grinneys travel for fly fishing in fresh water (Argentina/Kamchatka, Russia, where Melanie landed a 27-inch rainbow trout) and salt water (Bahamas/coastal Yucatan); he shoots quail, pheasant, partridges and more in South Georgia, South Dakota and Oregon. Add golf to the list too.
After leaving HealthSouth in December 2016, next step is role as non-executive chairman of the merging American Medical Response (largest ambulance company in the U.S.) and Air Medical Group Holdings.
IN THE MEANTIME
Met and married wife Melanie. And fell in love with
Birmingham. “My most positive first impression was the great people here.”
WHAT PEOPLE DON’T KNOW
Between jobs just out of college, the future CEO received food stamps for a short period. “It helped me appreciate that hard times can happen to anyone and that we should never take anything for granted.”
FOR THE FIRST TIME “I feel at home. I’ve lived in a lot of other cities and never felt the way I do here. Birmingham is home.”