LHC Group, a national provider of home health and hospice services, announced Wednesday that it lost almost $38 million in the third quarter, a per share loss of $2.08. The loss included an after-tax charge of $45 million for the settlement agreement it reached in September with the federal government on a whistleblower lawsuit. The company also noted an unexpected $2.3 million increase in self-insured employee health care costs during the third quarter, and the positive impact of pay for performance payments in the third quarter, which increased net income by $715,000 after tax. In the third quarter of 2010, LHC had net income of $13.3 million, or 73 cents a share.

Net service revenue for the third quarter of 2011 decreased to $153.4 million, compared with $165.7 million for the same period in 2010.

“The third quarter of 2011 presented LHC Group with many short-term challenges,” CFO Keith G. Myers said in announcing the financial results. “It is important to remember that home health remains the most cost-effective manner of providing care to the elderly population we serve. Further, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, the age 65 and over population will more than double over the next 30 years. As a result, I am more confident than ever that, over the long term, home health will continue to have an ever expanding role in health care.”

Net service revenue for the nine months ended Sept. 30 increased to $476.2 million compared with $464.5 million for the same period in 2010.

The company’s net loss for the nine months of this year was $20.5 million, or $1.12 per share.

Read the company’s full earnings report here.

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