The company announced after market close Tuesday that the SEC asked it to preserve all documents related to its Medicare reimbursement policies. The SEC also notified the company that it will issue a subsequent request to produce the documents.
Gentiva Health Services was also notified, bringing the number of home health care companies that the SEC is investigating to four; market leader Amedisys Inc. of Baton Rouge and Almost Family were notified by the SEC July 1.
The widening investigation did not seem to come as much of a surprise to the market, as LHC Group’s stock fell only 2.3 percent, closing at $22.49 Wednesday; shares did, however, hit a year-low of $20.50 in early trade Wednesday, having traded as high as $37.36 on April 20. The company’s stock had already tumbled 12 percent after Amedisys and Almost Family were notified. All of the companies' shares fell similarly at that time.
LHC Group said it is cooperating fully with the SEC review of its billing practices.
Prompted by a Wall Street Journal investigative story earlier this year, the Senate Finance Committee began looking into whether home health providers intentionally increase the number of therapy visits to trigger higher reimbursements. When they visit patients 10 times, the companies are reimbursed an additional $2,200 per patient.
On word of the investigation, analyst Kevin Ellich of RBC Capital Markets downgraded LHC Group shares to "Sector Perform" from "Outperform," noting physicians, therapists, clients and companies may cut back on business with LHC Group because of the investigation. He also lowered his 2010 and 2011 profit estimates for LHC and cut his price target from $30 per share to $25.
The SEC investigation is likely to change home health agencies’ billing practices, he says. "History has shown us that other providers billed government sources more conservatively when scrutinized for ‘upcoding’ or billing too aggressively and we believe this dynamic could follow suit in the home health industry."
The Louisiana Workforce Commission said Friday that initial claims rose to 2,125 from the previous week's total of 1,964. There were 2,887 initial claims during the comparable week in 2013.
Oilfield service company’s year-over-year revenues climbed 3.7 percent.
Move is part of company-wide consolidation of residential call centers.
Contentious deposition renders LOGA chief too ill to testify. Here's why.
Proposal for the upcoming legislative session would set Louisiana’s minimum wage at $10 per hour, beginning in 2015, up from the federal rate of $7.25 per hour.
Patrick Kane II recalls his mother awakening him 50 years ago to say his dad’s plane was missing.
His health affected by a contentious deposition last week, the LOGA chief says he can't testify (court will reconvene March 10).
Chair of the energy committee, Mary Landrieu (discussing the urgency of Keystone with Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird) should get the respect she deserves in Louisiana.
A fundraiser co-chaired by former U.S. attorneys from both sides of the political aisle could signal the end of Mike Harson’s long grip on the D.A.’s office.
Former W. Home Furnishings owner Rene Ward faces seven years in prison.
Stuller’s Danny Clark focuses on satisfied customers and effective employees as he settles in as the company’s president/COO.
Sterling Ford-Lincoln of Opelousas ribbon cutting and the State of the Parish address
Increases in higher-end home sales say a lot about the health of the overall market.
Who joined whom or got promoted?
World-class athlete riding high in custom bike biz.
Setting the record straight on that February story in HuffPo
Liability waivers — what you need to know before you sign
A one-man operation, Brett Gauthier is bringing the oil and gas industry into the age of digital animation.
Planning a meeting with results
Local Ad Fed’s Copywriter of the Year and recently named creative director at Russo tapped for Boston Marathon project.
Forecasts for more frigid weather drive prices to highest level in four years.
CiCi's Pizza on Johnston Street will be torn down to make way for popular bakery-café Panera Bread's first Lafayette store.
A computer services company announced Tuesday that it plans to open a new technology center in Bossier City, creating 800 new jobs and bolstering efforts to position northwest Louisiana as a center for cybersecurity work.
The four-week moving average, which is a less volatile measure of claims, decreased to 2,332 from the previous week's average of 2,566.
Auto dealership welcomes the community to celebrate