HealthSouth Corp , a U.S. hospital operator, plans to unveil a new corporate bylaw that will reimburse activist shareholders for the expense of unseating management-backed directors, the Wall Street Journal said on its website.

The new corporate bylaw will partly cover those candidates gaining at least 40 percent of the votes cast, and final board approval is likely by midweek, company officials told the paper.

The reimbursement bylaw will let the voice of all shareholders -- not just well-funded ones -- be heard, Chief Executive Jay Grinney told the paper.

In June, former HealthSouth boss Richard Scrushy was ordered to pay $2.9 billion after a judge found him responsible for an accounting fraud that nearly brought down the hospital chain.

HealthSouth's action may encourage other companies, especially those under pressure from activist investors, to follow suit, Patrick McGurn, special counsel for the proxy-advisory firm RiskMetrics told the paper.

HealthSouth could not be immediately reached for a comment by Reuters outside of regular U.S. business hours.

(Reporting by Sakthi Prasad in Bangalore; Editing by Valerie Lee)