July 2, 2010 04:19 PM
Lafayette-based LHC Group has not been notified of any SEC investigation into its billing practices, but its stock lost 12 percent of its value Thursday on confirmation that home health competitors Amedisys and Almost Family are targets. Lafayette-based LHC Group has not been notified of any SEC investigation into its billing practices, but its stock lost 12 percent of its value Thursday on confirmation that home health competitors Amedisys and Almost Family are targets.

The SEC investigations center on potential Medicare billing fraud and come on the heels of a related investigation of all four companies by the U.S. Senate Finance Committee. That inquiry was prompted by a Wall Street Journal story suggesting home health providers intentionally increase the number of therapy visits to trigger higher reimbursements.

On Thursday, shares of LHC Group plunged $3.34, or 12 percent, to $24.41. At 11 a.m. today the stock was down to $23.70. Baton Rouge-based Amedisys closed Thursday down $4.64, almost 11 percent, to $39.34. It's now at $35.70. Shares of Almost Family Inc. and Gentiva Health Services, which like LHC Group had not by Thursday been notified of an SEC investigation into its practices, fell similarly. 

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