Lincare expects to absorb more blows

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

CLEARWATER, Fla. - Lincare earlier this month reported that Medicare cuts helped drive down its net income to $136.1 million in 2009 from $227.3 million in 2008. It reported net revenues of $1.55 billion vs. $1.665 billion.

Lincare expects Medicare cuts to do more damage in 2010. It estimates that a 1.5% reduction in reimbursement for stationary oxygen equipment, from $175.79 to $173.17 per month, will result in a $9 million blow to income and revenues.

Still, CEO John Byrnes remains optimistic.

"We are pleased with Lincare's operating and financial performance in 2009," he stated in a release. "Our company met the significant challenges presented by an unprecedented reduction in Medicare payment amounts for our service while continuing to focus on meeting the needs of each our customers. We remain committed to our strategy to maintain our position as the market leader in the provision of home-based respiratory services and to expand our reach into markets were we believe we can add value and compete on the basis of efficiency and quality of care."

In late January, Lincare announced that it had acquired the HME, respiratory and home infusion business of Gentiva Health Services.

Lincare also reported earnings for the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31, 2009: Net income of $40.6 million compared to $55.6 million for the same period the previous year and net revenues of $405.8 million vs. $415.1 million.

The "unprecedented reduction in Medicare payment amounts" include a 9.5% cut for most DME and a 36-month cap for oxygen, both of which went into effect Jan. 1, 2009.