Amedisys Shares Decline After Company Lowers 2011 Forecast

Amedisys Inc. plunged the most in about 16 months after the provider of at-home health care lowered its full-year earnings forecast and said the chief operating officer will leave.

Amedisys dropped 23 percent to $10.06 at the close in New York, the biggest single-day decline since July 2010. Full-year profit, excluding certain items, will be $1.90 to $2 a share, the Baton Rouge, Louisiana-based company said today in a statement. In August, Amedisys said it expected $2.20 to $2.40 a share.

Because of an anticipated cut in Medicare payments next year and a “disappointing operating performance,” Amedisys said it has identified about 50 care centers that will be sold, closed or reduced. The company reported a third-quarter net loss of $423.7 million, or $14.73 a share, hurt by a goodwill and impairment charge.

The departure of Mike Snow, the chief operating officer, “is a big blow to the company,” said Arthur Henderson, an analyst with Jefferies & Co. in Nashville, Tennessee, in a research note. “Amedisys’ management shake-up, its weak operating and financial trajectory, and the highly uncertain home nursing reimbursement environment combine for a stormy near-term outlook.”

Revenue declined 7.4 percent to $374.9 million in the quarter, Amedisys said. A year earlier, the company had net income of $21.6 million, or 76 cents a share.

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