A U.S. Bankruptcy Court judge has authorized the sale of Nurses Registry and Home Health Corp. to a Louisiana company called LHC Group for $5.7 million, according to court records.
In an order authorizing the sale of the Lexington-based company, Judge Gregory R. Schaaf wrote that LHC Group's proposed purchase "is fair and reasonable, represents the highest and best offer for the purchased assets, and is in the best interests of the debtor, its creditors and its estate."
Of the net sale proceeds — what's left after attorney fees, broker fees and other associated costs — 70 percent will go to the U.S. government and 30 percent will go to the bankruptcy estate, according to an order approving the settlement agreement.
Another company, Five Points Healthcare LLC in Atlanta, had submitted a bid of $3.5 million for Nurses Registry at a court-authorized auction, but its bid was not accepted.
Based in Lafayette, La., LHC Group is a national provider of home health, hospice and comprehensive post-acute health care services.
Nurses Registry provides home health services to nearly 1,350 patients in Central Kentucky, including skilled nursing, physical therapy, occupational therapy, nursing assistants, speech language pathology and social work.
LHC Group has home health operations throughout Kentucky, said Josh Proffitt, executive vice president of acquisitions and partnerships and general counsel for the company.
"The acquisition of Nurses Registry allows us to expand our sphere of influence in Central Kentucky and significantly increase our service area — affording us the opportunity to better serve the patients, communities and referral sources throughout the region," Proffitt said in an email statement.
The judge's authorization makes the sale of Nurses Registry to LHC Group official, Proffitt said. "Although there are further procedural steps to be finalized, those steps are currently underway and we hope they will be completed in the next couple of weeks," he said.
Nurses Registry and the estate of its deceased owner and CEO, Lennie House, reached a $16 million agreement with the U.S. government this month to resolve allegations of health care fraud.
The settlement ended an investigation and False Claims Act litigation alleging that Nurses Registry, at the direction of House, fraudulently billed Medicare for medically unnecessary home health services, and services tainted by kickbacks provided by the company and House to local physicians and others who referred patients to Nurses Registry.
House died in February at age 72. Nurses Registry filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in June.
Vicki House, the widow of Lennie House, reached a separate agreement with the government in July for $1,082,416 to settle allegations that she provided unlawful compensation to three doctors who referred patients to the company.
The Nurses Registry purchase is one of several acquisitions by LHC Group this year.
LHC announced this month that it had completed an acquisition of Halcyon Hospice LLC for $58.5 million.
Halcyon, based in Georgia, was one of the largest independent providers of hospice service in the southeastern United States. Halcyon operated 16 hospice locations and had about 400 employees in Georgia, Mississippi and South Carolina.
The Halcyon acquisition brought LHC's hospice service line to 53 locations in 12 states with more than $110 million in annual revenue.
LHC Group also acquired a home health and hospice provider in Louisiana and a home health provider in Arkansas this year.