VITAS Healthcare Meets with US Vice President Pence and COVID-19 Task Force

March 5, 2020

VITAS President and CEO Nick Westfall with other hospice and palliative care executives in Washington

Left to right: Edo Banach, JD, President and CEO of the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization; Susan D. Lloyd, MSN, RN, President and CEO of Delaware Hospice; Nick Westfall, President and CEO of VITAS Healthcare; and Norman McRae, founder of Caris Healthcare.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – VITAS® Healthcare President & CEO Nick Westfall, along with other leading healthcare executives, met with U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, White House Coronavirus Task Force Coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx and Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Administrator Seema Verma to discuss the administration’s proactive coronavirus (COVID-19) measures to support patients, families and professionals providing healthcare services.

“I would like to applaud the White House, Vice President Pence, Administrator Verma and Ambassador Birx for their commitment and extraordinary efforts to actively support all healthcare providers, including hospice and palliative organizations,” said Westfall.

Executives from leading providers collaborated with members of the White House Coronavirus Task Force on the current plans and strategies. Westfall underscored how hospice and palliative care are uniquely positioned in the continuum of care to meet the needs of patients at higher risk for COVID-19 and limiting further transmission by transitioning patients to their preferred setting of care.

“I’m proud that our nursing home and hospice leadership came together to fulfill our obligation to be part of the ongoing solution to address this situation as a nation,” said Westfall who represents VITAS on the board of directors of the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO).

“At VITAS, our clinicians and staff are on the front line of patient care each day,” said Westfall. “I would like to thank the administration for doing everything possible to protect public health and the safety of our nation’s healthcare workers. It was clear their top priority is to ensure healthcare providers receive the full support and resources necessary to deliver care when and however appropriate.”

Westfall concluded, “this is the start of an important dialogue and allows us to advocate for the specific needs, access, and resources the hospice and palliative care community requires to safely care for our patients and prevent further spread of COVID-19.”

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