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."
"Although the administration is moving forward with climate change regulations at home, we don't consider how policy decisions in the United States impact greenhouse gas emissions in other parts of the world," says Roger Martella, the former general counsel at the Environmental Protection Agency under President George W. Bush.
Louisiana agriculture officials say prices for long-grain rice are projected to drop this year.
First-time claims for unemployment insurance in Louisiana for the week ending July 19 decreased from the previous week's total.
A judge is getting ready to set a new trial date for a former BP executive charged with obstructing a congressional investigation into the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill.
Midsouth Bank has released its second quarter earnings report, showing a year-over-year increase for shareholders.
The parent of Investar Bank says its second-quarter earnings fell to $1.1 million or 26 cents a share from $1.7 million of 44 cents a share in the same period a year ago.
1,554 rigs were exploring for oil and 315 for gas. Two were listed as miscellaneous. A year ago there were 1,770 active rigs.
Most personal auto insurance policies exclude coverage when people charge money to drive others in their personal vehicles.
Louisiana's 21 casinos took in $203.5 million statewide in June, edging up one-half of a percentage point from a year earlier.
Business First Bank has announced plans for a Baton Rouge market expansion through a merger deal with American Gateway Financial Corp.
Mellow Mushroom Pizza Bakers opens on Johnston.
Acadiana's Top 50 Private Companies
It would be an understatement to say Schumacher Group had a challenging year in 2013.
Hampton Toyota has been serving Acadiana as the premier Toyota dealership for more than 10 years. And now, the glossy Johnston Street dealership is looking forward to a makeover.
Even when Floyd Degueyter is on “vacation” he’s hard at work.
As the second largest metal heat treating company in the country, Analytic Stress Relieving Inc. has grown by leaps and bounds since its inception in 1979.
When the Prohibition era came to an end in 1933, Joseph R. Streva saw an opportunity to make a little extra money to supplement his day job.
When a hurricane hits, Brent Mouton doesn’t run. The convenience store chain owner is proof that the challenges of mother nature can almost break a business, but Mouton learned to grow out of temporary closure from near devastation in 2002 and of lost potential revenue.
By launching a Super PAC to end all Super PACs, our Top 50 keynote speaker hopes to change the game in Washington.
Oil Center-based private facility extends its offerings with special events venue in failed women’s store.
One year later, is his expansion plan paying off?
Newspaper industry insiders question John Georges’ expansion plan.
How the U.S. has gotten itself into another fine mess
The Heymann Center was transformed into a culinary adventure in mid-June for the EatLafayette kick-off event, A Taste of Lafayette, and for the third consecutive year, a sellout crowd filled the Cajundome Convention Center June 19 to hear LEDA chief Gregg Gothreaux’s State of the Economy report.
A look at recent hirings, promotions and other announcements from Acadiana's business community.