Baton Rouge-based home health giant Amedisys Inc. said Tuesday that its falling stock price had triggered indicators that forced the company to take a non-cash impairment charge estimated at $574.1 million, dropping third-quarter earnings to an estimated loss of $423.7 million, or $14.73 per share.

In addition, Amedisys said Chief Operating Officer Mike Snow is leaving the company and Chief Financial Officer Dale Redman will move to the role of executive vice president in anticipation of his retirement during the first quarter of 2012.

Ronald LaBorde, a board member since 1997, has been appointed company president.

Amedisys said it also plans to close, consolidate or sell 50 of its care centers due to disappointing performance and looming cuts in federal Medicare reimbursements.

The company said the non-cash impairment charge applies to Amedisys' goodwill, or intangible assets that include a strong brand name, good customer relations, good employee relations and patents or proprietary technology.

Excluding the charge, Amedisys' third-quarter earnings would have been $10.6 million, or 36 cents per share, nearly 60 percent lower than the $25.5 million, or 89 cents per share, recorded a year ago. The results were far below the 50 cents per share forecast by stock analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters.

"With third-quarter results below our expectations, we are lowering guidance for the year," Amedisys' Chief Executive Officer William F. Borne said in a news release. "However, we have made a number of strategic decisions aimed at realigning the company to better address performance and position the company for future success."

Amedisys lowered its overall 2011 earnings projections to between $1.90 and $2 per share, with revenue of $1.475 billion to $1.50 billion. Analysts had forecast earnings of $2.39 per share on revenue of $1.48 billion. In August, Amedisys lowered its 2011 guidance to between $2.20 and $2.40 per share from the range of $3-$3.30 per share.

Amedisys' stock closed Monday at $13.13, a little more than a third of its price in February and half of its value in late July.