LHC Group’s earnings up 35%

Neither a Securities and Exchange Commission investigation nor a Senate Finance Committee inquiry into its billing practices dampened home health provider LHC Group’s (Nasdaq: LHCG) third quarter earnings. The company bested by 3 cents analysts’ predictions of earnings of 70 cents per share, reporting net income of $13.3 million, compared with $9.8 million or 54 cents per share for the quarter ending Sept. 30, 2009.

LHC Group is among four publicly traded companies under investigation by the SEC for allegedly ordering unnecessary home visits in order to reach thresholds and trigger bonus Medicare reimbursements. The investigations were prompted by an April 2010 Wall Street Journal investigative report on the industry’s billing practices. The local company denies wrongdoing and says it is cooperating with investigators.


Earnings at LHC Group’s Baton Rouge based competitor, Amedisys, the initial target of the SEC investigation (along with Kentucky-based Almost Family), did not fare nearly as well in the third quarter. The company’s profits fell 40 percent, compared with the same quarter last year.

In other news at LHC Group, Donald D. Stelly, who has served as executive vice president and chief operating officer of LHC Group since June 2009 and has been with the Lafayette-based home health provider since 2005, was promoted to president.

The Port Barre native, who retains his duties as COO, replaces Keith Myers as president. Myers, the company’s chief executive officer and chairman of the board, reassumed the position of president in August 2009 when then-president John Indest’s responsibilities were restructured at his request. Indest stepped down as president and began serving as special adviser to CEO Myers. Indest continues to serve on the company’s board of directors and as chair of its Quality Committee.

Stelly joined LHC Group in April 2005 after serving as CEO at Doctor’s Hospital, a subsidiary of Brentwood, Tennessee-based LifePoint Hospitals Inc. He earned a bachelor’s degree in nursing from UL Lafayette in 1991.

Stone’s earnings dip 60 percent

Independent oil and gas producer Stone Energy’s (NYSE: SGY) third quarter 2010 net income of  $20.3 million, or 42 cents a share, represents a 60 percent decline over earnings of $51.1 million, or $1.06 per share, in last year’s third quarter. Analysts had estimated its quarterly earnings at 46 cents per share.

Operating revenue fell 24 percent to $153.2 million.

For the nine months ended Sept. 30, 2010, Stone reported net income of $76 million, or $1.57 per share, on operating revenue of $484.8 million compared to a net loss of $147.6 million, or $3.45 per share, on operating revenue of $515.1 million during the comparable 2009 period.

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