Shares of

Per-Se Technologies

(PSTI) - Get Report

were among the worst-performing health-related stocks Wednesday, falling 12% after the company posted in-line second-quarter earnings on sales that were slightly below expectations.

The company, which provides management services to physicians and hospitals, posted earnings from continuing operations of $7.5 million, or 23 cents a share, on sales of $93.3 million. Analysts polled by Thomson First Call were expecting earnings of 23 cents a share on sales of $93.5 million. A year ago the company posted pro forma earnings of $7 million, or 21 cents a share, on sales of $88.1 million.

Looking ahead, Per-Se Technologies forecast third-quarter earnings of 25 cents to 27 cents a share and fourth-quarter earnings of 30 cents to 33 cents a share. Analysts are expecting third-quarter earnings of 27 cents a share and fourth-quarter earnings of 31 cents a share. For the full year, the company now expects earnings of $1.07 to $1.12 a share. Previously, it expected earnings of $1.05 to $1.15 a share. The company said it continues to expect sales growth of 6.5% to 7.5% on a year-over-year basis. Per-Se said that an increase in the number of its outstanding shares would cut full-year earnings by 3 cents a share. The share increase was not factored into the company's earlier guidance. Shares, which had climbed by almost 50% since the beginning of the year, were recently trading down $2.80 to $20.66.

Health Management Associates

(HMA)

rose modestly after operator of non-urban general acute care hospitals said that it would buy back 10 million shares of stock. Shares, from time to time, will be bought in the open market until the company has repurchased all 10 million shares or until HMA decides to terminate the repurchase program, the company said. "This repurchase program demonstrates HMA's strong cash flow position and the continued confidence we have in HMA's future," the company said. Shares were trading up 4 cents to $23.64.

Shares of

Geopharma

( GORX) rose 30% after the company posted big gains in first-quarter earnings and sales. The pharmaceutical company reported earnings of $516,000, or 4 cents a share, on sales of $11.7 million. A year ago the company reported earnings of $16,000, or breakeven, on sales of $6.9 million. Shares were trading up $1.07 to $4.65.

Pediatrix Medical Group

( PDX) fell modestly after the company posted second-quarter earnings that topped forecasts. The contract medical services provider earned $27.1 million, or $1.14 a share, on sales of $173.8 million. Analysts were expecting earnings of $1.11 a share on sales of $165.9 million. A year ago the company earned $25.2 million, or 99 cents a share, on sales of $152.2 million. Looking ahead, Pediatrix now expects third-quarter pro forma earnings of $1.27 to $1.29 a share, up from previous guidance of $1.25 to $1.28 a share. For the fourth quarter, the company now expects earnings of $1.27 to $1.29 a share, up from previous guidance of $1.24 to $1.27 a share. Analysts are expecting third-quarter earnings of $1.27 a share and fourth-quarter earnings of $1.28 a share. Shares were trading up 40 cents to $80.

Shares of

Gentiva Health Services

(GTIV)

traded actively after the company reported second-quarter earnings that fell short of expectations. The provider of home health services posted earnings of $8.7 million, or 35 cents a share, on sales of $220.1 million. Excluding items, however, the company would have earned $4.5 million, or 18 cents a share. Analysts were expecting earnings of 20 cents a share on sales of $217.6 million. A year ago the company reported pro forma earnings of $5.4 million, or 20 cents a share, on sales of $208.2 million. Looking ahead, Gentiva reiterated its 2005 earnings guidance of 75 cents to 83 cents a share on sales of $870 million to $890 million. Analysts are expecting earnings of 78 cents a share on sales of $873.3 million. Shares were trading up 49 cent to $19.90 on volume of more than 600,000 shares, or nearly three times average volume.

Other health care volume movers included

Pfizer

(PFE) - Get Report

, down 25 cents to $26.69;

Protein Design Labs

(PDLI) - Get Report

, up $3.40 to $26.70;

Amgen

(AMGN) - Get Report

, up 77 cents to $83.40;

Teva Pharmaceutical

(TEVA) - Get Report

, up 5 cents to $32.25;

Merck

(MRK) - Get Report

, up 7 cents to $30.76;

Schering-Plough

( SGP), up 20 cents to $21.33;

Elan

(ELN)

, unchanged at $8; and

Johnson & Johnson

(JNJ) - Get Report

, up 10 cents to $64.73.