Gentiva® Health Services Comments on Senate Finance Committee Report

Applauds Intent of Committee Inquiry

Clarifies Certain Data Referenced in Committee Report

Oct 03, 2011, 18:27 ET from Gentiva Health Services, Inc.

ATLANTA, Oct. 3, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Gentiva Health Services, Inc. (Nasdaq: GTIV), a leading provider of home health and hospice services, announced that it has received and reviewed the Senate Finance Committee report about Medicare reimbursement rates in the home health industry and issued the following statement:

"In response to the report published by the Senate Finance Committee this morning, Gentiva maintains its belief that the company is providing the highest quality of care and receives payment within the standards set forth by the reimbursement system established by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).  

"Gentiva's therapy utilization patterns were not driven by the adjustment to reimbursement in January of 2008.  A chart, included on page 16 of the report and labeled Figure 12, clearly shows that the care pattern in 2008, after the payment threshold on day 10 was established by CMS, is very similar to the care pattern in 2007. Also as indicated in the report, Gentiva worked diligently in the expansion of its specialty programs in an effort to avoid patient falls and costly re-hospitalizations.  This expansion of these outcome driven programs and the corresponding increases in therapy visits was the result of growing senior and physician demand for specialty services and related therapy offerings.  In 2001, CMS indicated that by the year 2020, Medicare would be spending in excess of $32 billion dollars treating patients that fall (almost twice the current Medicare spend for home health).  Gentiva's Safe Strides program was designed specifically for fall prevention within the frail and elderly community.    

"The report also references the Company's use of certain key indicators as a ranking system and the use of financial analyses.  The Company uses dash boards and maintains metrics on all of its key operating indicators, not solely therapy metrics.  These metrics include clinical/patient outcomes and customer satisfaction.  The Company prides itself in measuring its performance, and uses the data to improve patient outcomes. Each year, CMS's proposed rate change rule is released and the Company analyzes every change to reimbursement to understand its potential financial impact.  This is no different than analyzing the financial impact that a 5% fuel cost increase would have on performance.  Analyzing the impact of reimbursement changes demonstrates fiscal responsibility, and is not indicative of a drive to direct care, as all services that Gentiva delivers in the home are ordered specifically by the patient's physician.

"The Company has cooperated fully with the Senate Finance Committee's inquiry.  The Company supports the Committee's efforts to identify abusive practices within the Medicare system and welcomes the opportunity to meet with the Committee to discuss its findings, as we have requested on several occasions.  Gentiva also supports a change to the reimbursement system developed by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services that would eliminate the therapy thresholds and include these services in the base payment model.  'I am proud of the care that our employees provide to the hundreds of thousands of patients that we serve,' comments Tony Strange, Chairman and CEO of Gentiva.  'I think the Senate Finance Report correctly identifies areas where changes to the current reimbursement system would be beneficial'."

About Gentiva Health Services, Inc.
Gentiva Health Services, Inc. is the nation's largest provider of home health and hospice services based on revenue, delivering innovative, high quality care to patients across the United States. Gentiva is a single source for skilled nursing; physical, occupational, speech and neurorehabilitation services; hospice services; social work; nutrition; disease management education; help with daily living activities; and other therapies and services. In August 2010, Gentiva acquired Odyssey HealthCare, Inc., one of the largest providers of hospice care in the United States. GTIV-G

Forward-Looking Statement
Certain statements contained in this news release, including, without limitation, statements containing the words "believes," "anticipates," "intends," "expects," "assumes," "trends" and similar expressions, constitute "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Forward-looking statements are based upon the Company's current plans, expectations and projections about future events. However, such statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause the actual results, performance or achievements of the Company to be materially different from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. These factors include, among others, the following: economic and business conditions, including the ability to access capital markets; demographic changes; changes in, or failure to comply with, existing governmental regulations; the impact on our Company of recently passed healthcare reform legislation and its subsequent implementation through governmental regulations; changes in Medicare, Medicaid and commercial payer reimbursement levels; the outcome of any inquiries into the Company's operations and business practices by governmental authorities; the Company's ability to effectively integrate Odyssey's operations; effects of competition in the markets in which the Company operates; liability and other claims asserted against the Company; ability to attract and retain qualified personnel; availability and terms of capital; loss of significant contracts or reduction in revenues associated with major payer sources; ability of customers to pay for services; business disruption due to natural disasters, pandemic outbreaks, or terrorist acts; ability to successfully integrate the operations of acquisitions the Company may make and achieve expected synergies and operational efficiencies within expected time-frames; effect on liquidity of the Company's debt service requirements; and changes in estimates and judgments associated with critical accounting policies and estimates. For a detailed discussion of certain of these and other factors that could cause actual results to differ from those contained in this news release, please refer to the Company's various filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), including the "Risk Factors" section contained in the Company's annual report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2010.

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SOURCE Gentiva Health Services, Inc.