LHC Group Inc., a Lafayette-based home nursing company, reported third-quarter earnings dropped to $5.3 million, or 31 cents per share, from $6.3 million, or 36 cents a share, a year earlier.

The company’s revenue grew to $164.7 million, up from $158.9 million a year ago.

LHC Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Keith G. Myers said the federal government’s final home health payment rule will make the long-term reimbursement picture clearer.

It will also result in “a period of significant consolidation in the industry” over the next several years, Myers said, and LHC Group is well-positioned to absorb this growth.

LHC reported its earnings after the markets closed Wednesday. The company repeated its guidance for 2013: per-share earnings between $1.25 and $1.35 on revenue of $660 million to $670 million.

The company’s third-quarter earnings met Wall Street analysts expectations but sales fell just short of expectations. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters forecast earnings of 31 cents per share on revenue of $167.6 million.

For the full year, analysts forecast earnings of $1.34 per share on revenue of $666.6 million.