- Associated Press - Monday, February 24, 2014

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - William F. Borne, who oversaw home nursing provider Amedisys Inc.’s transformation from a small regional company into one of the country’s largest, has resigned as chief executive officer, chairman and director.

The company said Monday that Borne, who founded the Baton Rouge-based company in 1982, will now serve as chairman emeritus.

“It’s never easy to see a founder leave, yet it’s not uncommon,” said David R. Pitts, a company director. “Bill had the vision, drive and compassion to build an incredible company that at its core is focused on helping chronically ill patients and their families during their greatest times of need.”

The Advocate reports (http://bit.ly/1pkZdGx ) the company’s board of directors has named President and Chief Financial Officer Ronald A. LaBorde the interim CEO, while a national search for a permanent replacement is conducted. Amedisys‘ has hired Korn Ferry to conduct the national CEO search.

LaBorde has been president and CFO for two years and a member of the board for 17 years, including nine years as lead director. He said he is looking forward to leading the company during this period of change.

The board also made Donald A. Washburn, lead director, and Pitts non-executive board co-chairmen. Washburn and Pitts will take a greater oversight role in the company’s operations.

Amedisys‘ has also hired the Boston Consulting Group for business and industry analysis and advisement and ReviveHealth for strategic communications, corporate marketing and health care industry consulting.

Borne’s departure marks the end of a chapter for Amedisys.

The company had grown inexorably, seemingly from its founding until April 2010, when an analysis by The Wall Street Journal showed the number of home therapy visits by the company closely tracked the levels required to trigger lucrative Medicare bonus payments. The story led to investigations by the U.S. Senate Finance Committee, the Securities and Exchange Commission, and the Department of Justice.

The Senate investigation found in 2011 that Amedisys abused the Medicare bonus system at best and committed fraud at worst. But the committee levied no penalties.

In November, Amedisys announced it had set aside $150 million to settle with the Justice Department. The SEC investigation is still underway.

Meanwhile, Amedisys‘ stock and financial performance suffered. The company was hurt by four years of cuts in Medicare payments and closed or sold dozens of underperforming home nursing centers. The company’s stock fell from a high of more than $61 in 2010 to less than $10 per share in 2012.

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Information from: The Advocate, http://theadvocate.com