Staffing, Capacity Gains ‘Catapult’ Growth at VITAS

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Capacity gains driven by a slate of new hires has propelled VITAS Healthcare to pre-pandemic performance.

A bonus program implemented last year has accelerated hiring, which in turn has relieved some of the capacity constraints that have been a stumbling block for several quarters running.The initiative included a one-time retention payment that ranges from $2,000 to $15,000 per employee for nurses, nurse managers, home health aides and social workers.


The boost in capacity has accelerated the hospice provider’s revenue and daily census growth, according to Kevin McNamara, CEO of VITAS’ parent company, Chemed Corp. (NYSE: CHE).

“VITAS’ continued improvement in operating metrics is the result of our 12-month retention and hiring program launched in July of 2022,” McNamara said in a Q4 2023 earnings call. “This program was designed to stabilize turnover among our tenured staff and expand clinical workforce capacity.”

The program ran between July 2022 and July 2023. During those 12 months, VITAS hired 784 licensed clinicians, the majority of whom were nurses. However, the company’s hiring boom extended through the second half of 2023, after the bonus initiative ended, McNamara indicated.


In VITAS’ equation, more clinicians leads to bringing on more patients. The company in Q4 saw 7% year-over-year admissions growth, which contributed to a 11% increase in average daily census, reaching 19,352. This is a record high for VITAS that exceeds pre-pandemic levels.

In Q4 2023, the company’s net revenue reached $350 million in the fourth quarter of 2023, up 13.6% from the prior-year’s period. Other factors contributing to the revenue growth included an 11% increase in days-of-care and a Medicare reimbursement rate increase.

“We’ve now generated six quarters of sequential net growth in licensed health care workers, and five quarters of sequential growth in ADC,” VITAS CEO Nick Westfall said in the earnings call. “We now have a sustainable and predictable approach to continue methodically building our clinical capacity and patient base that has taken us past our pre-pandemic levels and catapulted us forward into 2024 and beyond.”

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