Home Health Stocks Recover After Down October, Flat September

After a down couple of months mirroring broader economic trends, home health stocks are headed back up.

Home health stocks climbed by more than 21% in November compared to the previous month, according to the most recent Home Health Index (HHI) from Stoneridge Partners, a mergers-and-acquisitions firm based in Louisville, Kentucky.

The HHI is a monthly analysis of the market values of Amedisys (Nasdaq: AMED) and LHC Group (Nasdaq: LHCG), the two biggest publicly traded and independent home health companies in the country.

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In contrast to November’s success, home health stocks dipped by more than 11% in October compared to September, according to the HHI. Although it wasn’t a downturn, HHI was up by just 0.74% in September compared to August as well, marking the first time in several months that home health stocks had shown signs of cooling off.

“There was a broader dip to U.S. markets in September and October, which is likely why we saw a slight drop in home health stock values,” Stoneridge Partners President Rich Tinsley said in a statement. “Home health stocks are back up, more in line with what we had been seeing on a regular basis throughout much of 2018.”

HHI’s upward march in November far outpaced what investors saw with the S&P 500, which increased by only 0.65% last month compared to October.

Baton Rouge, Louisiana-based Amedisys saw its stock climb by a little more than 24% in November compared to the previous month, while Lafayette, Louisiana-based LHC Group’s stock rose by more than 18% in November compared to the previous month.

The recovery of Amedisys and LHC Group stock was not altogether surprising, as each posted solid third-quarter 2018 financial results, according to Stoneridge. Furthermore, investors that follow the post-acute care space — and home health, in particular — have also been buoyed by the final home health payment rule from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) for 2019.

CMS projects that Medicare payments to home health agencies in calendar year 2019 will be increased by 2.2% — or $420 million — based on its finalized policies. That’s slightly more than what CMS initially suggested in July’s proposed payment rule.

Outside of Amedisys and LHC Group, Stoneridge Partner’s HHI also monitors the stock value of Frisco, Texas-based Addus HomeCare Corporation (Nasdaq: ADUS). Addus saw its stock increase by 14.68% in November over October, according to the HHI.

Written by Robert Holly

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