From Publishers Weekly
Combining two trends of the 1990s-the rise and fall of corporate health care giants such as HealthSouth in response to managed care; and the explosion of the Internet as a virtual meeting place and public square-Cast provides a limited case study of the convergence of these two worlds. The HealthSouth Yahoo! board became a forum for the company's disgruntled current and former employees. (Including Cast, whose surgical clinic belonged to HealthSouth for a year.) Cast does a great job showing the camaraderie of an Internet board, but he reprints too many long excerpts from posts; the name-calling and bickering feels like reading an unfiltered online discussion, but the reprinted vitriol helps the reader understand the company's lawsuits against its anonymous critics, which succeeded in wringing an apology from one of them. The story of Richard Scrushy, the flamboyant CEO of HealthSouth who started a company-supported country band and piloted his corporate jet, is fascinating, especially as told by Cast, a consummate outsider who didn't interview any company insiders for his book. The book follows Medicare fraud lawsuits, shareholder suits and an FBI raid on company headquarters from the investor point of view and shows how the HealthSouth message board finally helped small investors make a profit when the company's stock resumed trading after the FBI raid. Cast, however, in focusing solely on HealthSouth's case, misses a natural opportunity to explore the wider implications of the clash between the free-wheeling Internet ethos and the strictures of corporate health care.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.