Baton Rouge home health company Amedisys Inc. plans to acquire Compassionate Care Hospice for $340 million, a move that will make Amedisys the third-largest hospice provider in the U.S. 

The acquisition is the biggest for Amedisys in a decade — since it acquired TLC Health Services for $390 million — and will expand the publicly traded company's hospice presence from 22 states to 34 states. Its hospice patient count will grow from 7,500 per day to about 11,000. 

Compassionate Care Hospice is headquartered in Parsippany, New Jersey, and does about $188 million in annual revenue.

The acquisition comes as the home health side of Amedisys faces regulatory hurdles that Amedisys President and CEO Paul Kusserow said will require "structural changes." 

"We wanted to bet on our stable hospice business and bulk up on that," he said. "The regulatory environment for hospice is very, very attractive." 

Amedisys is one of the nation's largest home health, hospice and personal care companies, with a market capitalization of nearly $3.8 billion. It was previously the fifth-largest hospice provider in the U.S. The LHC Group, based in Lafayette, is another Louisiana company that is one of the largest home health firms in the country. 

Kusserow said Amedisys got a "very good price" on the acquisition, which was handled by the mergers and acquisitions team at its Baton Rouge headquarters. The company has an executive office in Nashville, Tennessee.

Amedisys expanded its Baton Rouge offices on American Way earlier this year, moving its local home health and hospice care operations into its headquarters. Kusserow said acquisitions like Compassionate Care provide more opportunities for work in Baton Rouge. 

Amedisys will enter several new markets, including areas of Texas, Florida and the upper Midwest. 

The deal is expected to close in February 2019. The $340 million price tag includes $50 million in payments related to a tax asset and working capital, according to a news release. 

After closing, Amedisys is expected to have 136 hospice care centers in 34 states, with 5,700 hospice employees. 

In the first half of 2019, Kusserow said Amedisys will add sales resources to the new hospice operations in an effort to grow the firm more quickly. 

Follow Sam Karlin on Twitter, @samkarlin.