February 22, 2012 / 12:40 PM / in 7 years

UPDATE 2-Almost Family 4th-qtr profit beats Street

* Q4 adj EPS $0.58 vs est $0.49

* Q4 rev $89.3 mln vs est $88.7 mln

* Says benefited from Cambridge acquisition

* Says Medicare rate changes reduced Q4 EPS by 27 cents

Feb 22 (Reuters) - Almost Family Inc followed peer Gentiva Health Services Inc in posting better-than-expected quarterly results, highlighting a recovery in the home healthcare sector, which has been battered by reimbursement cuts and new regulations.

Throughout 2011, Almost Family, along with Amedisys Inc , Gentiva and LHC Group Inc, had been hit by a series of bad news, including reimbursement cuts, federal investigations into billing practices and new Medicare regulations.

Almost Family said its fourth-quarter results benefited from its acquisition of Cambridge Home Health Care Holdings — a provider of in-home personal and skilled nursing care.

Louisville, Kentucky-based Almost Family acquired Cambridge in August last year.

However, the combined effect of Medicare rate changes reduced revenue and operating income by $4.2 million and earnings per share by 27 cents, the company said.

Quarterly net income fell to $5.3 million, or 57 cents a share, from $7 million, or 75 cents a share, a year ago.

Excluding items, it earned 58 cents a share.

Revenue rose about 6 percent to $89.3 million.

Analysts on average had expected earnings of 49 cents a share on revenue of $88.7 million, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Revenue from personal care segment grew 86 percent to $19.0 million, mainly helped by the Cambridge acquisition.

However, the company’s visiting nurse segment — its largest — was affected by the Medicare rate cuts, volume and related issues in Florida and costs associated with new government regulations.

Revenue from the segment fell 5 percent to $70.4 million.

Almost Family shares, which have lost 45 percent of their value in the past one year, closed at $20.60 on Tuesday on the Nasdaq.

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