VITAS Healthcare, a subsidiary of of Chemed Corp. (NYSE: CHE), has expanded in the San Antonio market with a new inpatient unit. The company expects the unit to serve more than 700 patients each year.
The 14-bed unit is designed to create a homelike environment for patients and families, according to VITAS. Patients will be admitted if their symptoms are too severe or complex to be managed in the home.
“San Antonio has been incredibly receptive to the comfort-focused care and clinical support we’ve provided to the community, and this new facility enables us to deliver care more effectively to greater numbers of patients and families,” said Joseph Brickner, general manager of VITAS in San Antonio. “The VITAS [inpatient unit] at Villa Rosa offers extra layers of support around the clock from an expert hospice team in a place that feels like home.”
The structure includes 14 private rooms with recliners and sofas, as well as a family room, kitchen and laundry facilities, and is located near hotels and restaurants for visiting family members.
Demographic tailwinds have been fueling a thriving hospice market in Texas. The Lone Star State has the third largest elderly population in the nation, according to the Texas Demographic Center, a state institution. The number of Texans 65 or older grew by 49.5% between 2000 and 2014. Only California experienced a higher rate of increase among their senior population.
Texas ranks 15th among the states in hospice utilization, with 52.8% of Medicare decedents electing hospice in 2018, according to the National Hospice & Palliative Care Organization. Utah has the highest rate of utilization at 60.5%. The national average is slightly higher than 50%.
The inpatient unit will adhere to current recommendations to prevent the spread of COVID-19 among patients, visitors and staff, VITAS indicated.
“Visitation policies at VITAS IPUs follow the guidance of CDC and state rules, and our policies change as regulatory guidance evolves,” Brickner said. “Our team encourages patients’ families and our referral sources to check with IPU staff for the latest updates and policies. We continue to abide by current guidelines for such issues as visitor COVID-19 testing, masks, and overnight stays by family members.”