VITAS Healthcare, a subsidiary of Chemed (NYSE: CHEM), has opened a de novo location in Florida that expands its presence into three additional counties.
The company’s newest location is in the City of Clewiston, Florida. Unlike some of its competitors, VITAS has focused on de novos for geographic growth rather than acquisitions, in part due to skyrocketing valuations in the space. The latest de novo will serve Glades, Hendry, and Lee counties.
“VITAS is dedicated to making hospice care available to all who are eligible,” said Mark Hayes, VITAS vice president of operations, in a statement. “Patients have the right to choose among providers as they seek to enhance their quality of life during their final months.”
Favorable demographics have made Florida a key growth market for hospice providers.
Seniors are projected to represent nearly a third, or 32.5%, of the state’s overall population by 2030, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. This is a hike from about a quarter of adults 65 and older currently living in the state.
Hospice utilization also runs high in Florida. In 2018, the state ranked fourth nationwide for hospice utilization at 57.9% among Medicare decedents, according to the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization. Only Utah, Delaware and Arizona saw higher rates at 60.5%, 59.2%, and 58.8% respectively.
The U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) reported in 2019 that more than 140,700 patients utilized the Medicare Hospice Benefit in Florida, with reimbursement totaling more than $1.9 billion.
VITAS, the nation’s largest hospice provider by market share according to LexisNexis, has been expanding its presence in Florida for a few years running.
The company opened two new inpatient centers in February, adding to the four they launched in 2021.
The company operates 49 hospice programs across 14 states and in the District of Columbia, with 28 inpatient hospice units nationwide. More than 9,880 staff provide advanced illness care, with VITAS reporting an average daily census ticking past 17,360 patients at the close of Q4 last year.
The company brought in $298 million in revenue during the second quarter of the year.
“With the VITAS value of putting patients and families first, we offer an option to patients who choose to receive end-of-life services from a team of committed and compassionate experts,” Hayes said.