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."
A divided 3rd Circuit Court of Appeal reversed a Lafayette district judge’s ruling absolving the co-owner of a New Iberia accounting firm of liability in an embezzlement case.
“I am only getting a little nervous about two projects — the proposed Sasol GTL facility [not the new ethylene plant] and the proposed G2X facility — both in Lake Charles. They need a hefty difference between oil and natural gas prices to make sense.”
Lower oil prices also might slow the growth of oil production in parts of the U.S., Canada and elsewhere because it will no longer be so profitable.
A Lafayette woman faces up to 20 years in prison for running up more than $1 million in unauthorized charges to her company credit card.
Signs that our state’s banking industry is undergoing a downsizing in 2014 were further confirmed today with the FDIC’s latest figures showing a third straight quarter in which Louisiana lost more banks and earned less money.
State police say a 47-year-old Lafayette man, who collected more than $83,000 in disability benefits, is accused of operating two businesses out of his home at a time when he claimed he had no income.
Facing opposition from a powerful industry, the governor and many in the Legislature, a New Orleans-area flood board's lawsuit against dozens of oil, gas and pipeline companies seemed doomed early on.
Thursday’s explosion aboard an oil production platform in the Gulf of Mexico is now under investigation by the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement.
Money from the first and only settlement so far in a Louisiana flood board's lawsuit against dozens of energy companies will be placed in a special account dedicated to coastal restoration.
BP is heading to a federal appeals court in its effort to oust the administrator of damage settlement claims arising from the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill.
The 59-41 Senate vote was one shy short of the 60 needed to clear the House-passed measure.
Spot bonuses to employees who go above and beyond on projects one of several reasons national mag calls BR-based biz bank a cool place to work.
The Director Search Committee interviewed the five men still in the running via video last week and is set to trim the field this week.
Telecom’s decision to halt deployment to more than 100 cities while it awaits net-neutrality rules appears to be little more than a temper tantrum.
Environmental (and political) junkies got a double fix when The Lens hosted a discussion between its environmental writer and the lead attorney in the levee board suit.
Follow The IND to hear Lens environmental reporter Bob Marshall's interview with Gladstone Jones, the lead attorney in the lawsuit against the oil and gas companies for coastal damages.
The $35B deal leaves the burning question about what it will mean for the thousands of these two service giants' local employees.
Broussard & David set up shop at the corner of Jefferson and Vermilion.
in light of falling oil prices, Forbes asks, “Will there be more?”
Lake Charles lets Acadiana companies in on the action as our neighbor to the west prepares for unprecedented growth.
A new study analyzes the state of the Lake Charles region and the impact 19 industrial projects will have on residents.
A U.S. magistrate judge calls “garbage” on behavior of attorneys for Progressive Waste Solutions.
The Lafayette food truck scene is slowing down but not stopping.
Lake-area financial institutions seeing green.
As the Lake Charles region ramps up for record-setting growth, ABiz lays out the challenges and opportunities ahead for South Louisiana.