Amedisys Inc. said its third-quarter net income fell 40 percent, as the home health provider continued to see a volume fall-off that started in the second quarter, and it lowered the upper end of its profit forecast for 2010.

The Baton Rouge, La., company said it earned $21.6 million, or 76 cents per share, in the three months that ended Sept. 30. That's down from earnings of $35.9 million, or $1.29 per share, in the same quarter of 2009. Revenue rose 4 percent to $404.7 million.

Adjusted earnings were 89 cents per share, which exclude costs tied to severance and legal expenses from a U.S. Senate Committee on Finance inquiry and a Securities and Exchange Commission investigation.

Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected, on average, earnings of 91 cents per share on $397.5 million in revenue. Wall Street estimates typically exclude one-time items.

"We have implemented a number of initiatives to better align our cost structure with current volume and improve our revenue moving forward," CEO William F. Borne said in a statement.

Operating expenses rose 12 percent in the quarter to about $367.6 million, and that pushed operating income down to $37.1 million from $60.7 million.

For 2010, the company now projects earnings of $4.20 to $4.35 per share on revenue that's expected to range from $1.63 billion to $1.65 billion. In August, the company said it expected an annual profit of $4.20 to $4.50 per share, with a similar revenue range.

Analysts expect earnings of $4.31 per share on $1.64 billion in revenue.