VITAS Healthcare Expands Hospice Services to Panama City, Florida
July 24, 2020
PANAMA CITY, FL – Residents in Florida’s Panhandle now have access to high-quality hospice care through VITAS Healthcare, the nation’s leading provider of end-of-life care. The new Panama City office opened its doors for hospice-eligible patients in Bay, Calhoun, Gulf, Holmes, Jackson and Washington counties in Northwest Florida on July 6, 2020.
VITAS has provided innovative, patient-centered hospice care in Florida since its inception 40 years ago. The new VITAS office in Panama City serves as a home base and expansion in Florida for interdisciplinary teams that care for patients in their homes, nursing homes, assisted living communities and inpatient units.
Overseeing services for the Panama City program is General Manager Kenn Wallace, a Lynn Haven native and proven leader with extensive experience in healthcare operations, partnerships and customer care.
“The entire VITAS team is proud to expand our signature services to residents of the Panhandle so we can best address the growing need for high-quality hospice care,” said Wallace. “We look forward to increasing access and overall awareness around end-of-life care services amongst patients, families and healthcare partners, all while creating employment options for the local community.”
To commemorate the grand opening, Commissioner Kenneth Brown and Tamara Barnes of Bay County Chamber of Commerce joined the VITAS team for a ribbon-cutting ceremony and virtual celebration on July 23. Panama City Mayor Greg Brudnicki paid tribute to the event by virtue of a proclamation:
Hospice-eligible patients, their families and providers in Panama City and Northwest Florida will benefit from VITAS Healthcare’s unique services and specialized therapies, modalities and programs. These include offerings such as a nationally recognized veterans’ program, specialized bereavement services for children, Paw Pals® visits from loving animals, and music, massage and art therapy.
Unique VITAS services for hospice-eligible patients include:
- Admissions personnel available 24/7/365—at the convenience of the family or upon the request of the physician
- Physical, emotional and spiritual care provided by a hospice team that visits the patient via telehealth or safely in the comfort of their home, nursing home or assisted living facility, an average of five-plus times per week
- 24/7 access to trained clinicians who can send a team member to the patient’s home when necessary
- Continuous care at home for up to 24 hours when needed
In addition, VITAS is committed to providing several key community benefits:
- Improved access to care for over 32,000 veterans, who comprise nearly 30% of the region’s 65+ population
- 42 new full-time employment positions created across a wide range of disciplines
- Volunteer opportunities equivalent to at least 5% of all direct-care hours
- Grants to local food, housing and medical assistance programs, caregiver education and support, as well as scholarship opportunities
Healthcare professionals may contact the Panama City office at 877.515.1932 for 24/7 referral information or download the VITAS mobile app for one-touch referrals, VITAS locations and interactive hospice eligibility guidelines.