building blocks with Q3 and

Capacity constraints and labor shortages due to the COVID-19 omicron surge stymied earnings for LHC Group in the final quarter of 2021. Despite a disappointing fourth quarter, the company turned in a solid 2021 performance.

The Lafayette, LA-based home care giant earned $0.50 a diluted share in the final three months of 2021 on $583 million in revenues. That compares to $0.98 a share on $532 million in revenues during the same period in 2020. For the full year, LHC Group earned $3.69 per diluted share compared to $3.56 a share for 2020. 

LHC Group President and Chief Operating Officer Joshua Proffitt acknowledged the tough fourth quarter in a company press release, but expressed optimism for the months ahead.

“While late fourth quarter and early first quarter operating trends were affected by reduced capacity to service the strong demand for our services due to COVID variants and labor availability, we expect to benefit in 2022 from recent stabilization in those trends and from our implementation of certain cost improvement initiatives and efficiencies,” Proffitt said. 

LHC Group’s home health division outperformed hospice for the quarter and for the year. Organic growth in total home health admissions increased 3.8% for the final quarter of 2021 compared to the same period in 2020 and increased 5.5% for the full year compared to 2020.

Hospice, the other hand, saw admissions decrease 6.2% in the fourth quarter versus 2020 and increase 0.5% for the full year compared to the previous year. 

In guidance for the full year, LHC Group expects to earn between $5.60 and $6 per diluted share on revenues of $2.5 billion to $2.55 billion. 

LHC Group Chairman and CEO Keith Myers has been lobbying Congress over the past year for passage of the Build Back Better initiative and the Choose Home Care Act, which would promote home care for seniors. In the press release, Myers continued to promote the legislation.

“The demand for at-home healthcare is as strong as ever with patients and families overwhelmingly preferring care in the home and senior advocates, Congress and policymakers increasingly recognizing the better outcomes and efficiency,” Myers said.