He began his career as an assistant administrator at Bryce State Psychiatric Hospital in Tuscaloosa. From there he took the position of vice president for planning, research and development at Healthcare Services of America in Birmingham. In 1987 he was named the CEO of Hill Crest Hospital.
From 1988 to 1992 Ferniany worked for UAB, starting as an executive administrator for the Department of Psychiatry and rising to the position of associate administrator for strategic planning and market development. In 1992 he moved to the University of Pennsylvania and spent 14 years there, including time as senior vice president and chief administrative officer. Working as an administrator he also taught classes on the faculty of the Wharton Business School.
In 2006 he left to become associate vice chancellor and chief executive officer at the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson. He was announced as the UAB Health System's CEO on August 1, 2008, succeeding interim CEO Ray Watts. He was promoted to CEO of the newly-created UAB Health System Ascension St Vincent's Alliance in July 2020. He retired from UAB at the end of 2021.
Ferniany and his wife, the former Dana Hardy of Alexander City, developed a pickle recipe that has been marketed nationwide as "Wickles" by Sims Foods of Dadeville (Tallapoosa County). One of the couple's daughters is a teacher at Shades Cahaba Elementary School. Ferniany is also a first cousin of Pat Mitchell (Auntie Litter).
Ray Watts (interim)
|CEO, UAB Health System
September 2008–July 2020
|CEO, UAB Ascension St Vincent's Alliance
July 2020–December 2021
- Ferniany New CEO of Health System (August 1, 2008) UAB press release
- Velasco, Anna (August 10, 2008) "New UAB Health System CEO's goal is nation's top 10." The Birmingham News
- Velasco, Anna (August 10, 2008) "New UAB Health System CEO also developed pickle." The Birmingham News
- Yeager, Andrew (April 14, 2021) "UAB Health System CEO: ‘It really was that bleak.’" WBHM.org