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Amedisys posts lower profit

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) -- Amedisys Inc.'s first-quarter earnings slumped to $2.7 million, or 9 cents per share, compared with $5.4 million, or 18 cents per share, a year ago.

During a conference call on Tuesday, President Ronald Laborde said the company will sell 39 care centers and consolidate 11 others.

Laborde says a drop in home nursing patients and cuts to Medicare payments hurt revenue and profit. Legal fees associated with investigations into the firm's Medicare billing practices cost the company $1.2 million, or 4 cents per share.

Amedisys also lowered its earnings guidance for the year. The company now expects earnings to fall between 45 cents and 55 cents per share on revenue of $1.28 billion to $1.30 billion.