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(Reuters) - Amedisys Inc's (AMED.O) fourth-quarter profit halved from a year earlier and the U.S. home healthcare provider forecast full-year results well below analysts' expectations as the industry battles reimbursement cuts and slowing growth.
Amedisys's shares fell as much as 15 percent in early trading on Tuesday.
The company forecast 2013 earnings in the range of 60 cents to 70 cents per share, compared with the average analyst forecast of 77 cents.
President Barack Obama's healthcare law imposes reimbursement cuts on the home healthcare industry and companies such as Amedisys, Gentiva Health Services Inc GTIV.O, Almost Family Inc (AFAM.O) and LHC Group Inc (LHCG.O) have struggled to offset the impact of changes in Medicare reimbursement rates.
Amedisys expects net service revenue of $1.425 billion to $1.45 billion for 2013, below analysts' expectations of $1.51 billion.
The company's net income from continuing operations fell to $7.2 million, or 23 cents per share, in the quarter ended December 31, from $14.5 million, or 49 cents per share, a year earlier.
Net service revenue fell 2 percent to $362.9 million.
Analysts on average had expected earnings of 22 cents per share on revenue of $373.3 million, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Shares of the Baton Rouge, Louisiana-based company were down 3 percent at $11.91 on the Nasdaq. They touched a three-month low of $10.42 earlier.
Reporting By Vrinda Manocha in Bangalore; Editing by Maju Samuel