Amedisys Adds New Senior VP and Compliance Officer

Following an announcement that the chief compliance officer of Amedisys Inc. (NASDAQ: AMED) would take a year of paid leave beginning Aug. 1, the home health provider has named David B. Pearce as senior vice president and chief compliance officer, effective July 5.

In his new role, Pearce will oversee Amedisys’ ethics and compliance programs. The company’s current chief compliance officer, Jeffrey D. Jeter will continue to work full time through July 31, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) submitted in May.

The change comes at mobile time for home health industry regulations, as new requirements from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) continue to come down the line at warp speed. Earlier this month, the agency announced it is moving forward with its prior authorization requirement, known as the Pre-Claim Review Demonstration, for home health. The pilot demonstration will begin periodically rolling out in five states beginning Aug. 1.

Amedisys executives have previously said the requirement could be a “significant” impact for the company, particularly for its Florida and Masschusetts operations.

“The current compliance environment is challenging,” Pearce told Home Health Care News. “But ultimately, the provider community and the government are both trying to ensure that qualified patients receive excellent clinical services to promote the best possible outcomes. In this period of rapid change and experimentation, providers and payer must work together to serve the best interests of patients.”

Baton Rouge, Louisiana-based Amedisys operates 421 care centers in 34 states and has more than 16,000 employees. Already, the home health provider has dealt with significant payment model changes, as nearly 30% of its business is within states with CMS’ mandated value-based purchasing program.

“The cornerstone of our compliance program is to maintain the highest possible standards of integrity,” Paul Kusserow, president and CEO of Amedisys, said in a prepared statement. “It’s important to our company to always do what’s right for our patients, our employees and referrals sources in the communities we serve. That’s why we’re excited to welcome David, whose distinction as a legal counsel and depth of health care compliance experience will be a credit to Amedisys.”

Pearce most recently served as senior vice president and chief counsel for Kindred Healthcare’s (NYSE: KND) home division, Kindred at Home. Kindred’s $2.5 billion home health, hospice and community care services are spread throughout approximately 700 locations and 42,000 employees nationwide.

Pearce previously served as general counsel and chief compliance officer for Extendicare Health Services, In. He has also performed in general counsel, compliance and legal roles for organizations including Kindred’s predecessor Vencor, the law firm Sturgill, Turner, Barker and Moloney in Lexington, Kentucky, and Atlanta-based law firm Arnall Golden and Gregory. Pearce began his career as a staff judge advocate for the United States Navy, where he also served as general counsel for two high-ranking officers.

Written by Amy Baxter