APRIA HEALTHCARE: Easing Out of Hot Water
Apria Healthcare Group Inc. is out from under the watchful eye of federal prosecutors, who last year issued the Costa Mesa- based home health giant eight subpoenas for information on its Medicare and Medicaid billing practices, Bloomberg/Los Angeles Times reports. Although the U.S. attorney's office in Sacramento closed the investigation Thursday without filing charges, Apria is not yet in the clear. The company, which has denied any wrongdoing, has been issued two additional subpoenas by the U.S. attorney's office in San Diego regarding its billing practices, and is also responding to one subpoena from HHS. John Sullivan, an analyst at Tucker Cleary Capital Markets, downplayed the subpoenas as "[u]nfortunately ... part of doing business in the health care segment." Sullivan issued Apria stock a "strong buy" rating and predicted that "investors will continue to be very pleasantly surprised by the company's ability to ... focus on continuing to improve its operations." Apria beat analysts' first-quarter predictions to pull in $15.6 million with its "cost-cutting plan, under which Apria left some unprofitable markets and fired some employees." Shares rose $1.88 yesterday to close at $18.88 (7/9).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.