and hospice operator Amedisys once again disappointed Wall Street
with its fourth quarter financial results, but newly installed interim CEO Ronald LaBorde had an optimistic message for investors.
“We have missed guidance and Street estimates over the last several quarters and that has to change,” he said on an earnings call. “Initiatives already are underway that will positively impact our operating margins.”
The Baton Rouge, La.-based company reported a fourth quarter net loss from continuing operations of $2.2 million—a 135.5% decrease compared with net income of $6.3 million reported for fourth quarter 2012.
Net service revenue declined 13.7% to $303.5 million from $351.6 million during the same period last year.
Several factors contributed to Amedisys' fourth-quarter showing, including lower patient volumes, as well as higher per-visit costs alongside fixed company costs. Other adverse factors included higher employee healthcare costs and losses related to a settlement with the Office of the Inspector General.
The settlement pertained to self-disclosures Amedisys made in 2012 and 2013 when it found that two of its hospices were not meeting state and Medicare
requirements for certifying patient eligibility.
In addition, the company sold or closed 26 care centers and consolidated 15 more, incurring costs for discontinuing those leases. Losses also resulted from the sale of its corporate jet and higher-than-expected use of contractors.
Over the next several quarters, Amedisys will work on restructuring its underperforming care centers, reducing its general and administrative expenses and creating a standardized clinical quality model, LaBorde said.
“We do not think it will happen overnight; much work needs to be done,” he said, assuring investors that they will begin to see short-term improvements. “The Amedisys team is up to the challenge.”
LaBorde stepped into the CEO role after company co-founder William Borne stepped down from that position
last month. Amedisys is working with a consulting firm to turn around its operations while it looks for a new leader.
During the call, LaBorde also said that Tom Dolan, senior vice president of finance and treasurer, has left the company to pursue another opportunity. His departure is not related to the company's struggles, LaBorde said.Follow Beth Kutscher on Twitter: @MHbkutscher