Vitas revenues slip in 2021 1Q following pandemic hit to senior living referrals: execs – Home Care Daily News

COVID-19’s impact on the hospice business played a role in lower 2021 first quarter revenues for Vitas Healthcare Corp., the hospice division of Chemed, which also owns Roto-Rooter, a plumbing and drain cleaning services provider.

Vitas’ first-quarter revenues totaled $315.8 million, which fell 6.5% compared to year-earlier revenues of $337.9 million. Vitas is considered the country’s largest hospice provider, according to LexisNexis. 

Chemed as a whole earned $16 million on revenues of $527.4 million in the 2021 first quarter. That compares to profits of $55.9 million on lower sales of $515.8 million in the year-ago quarter.

“Although I am very gratified by the company’s results in the first quarter, comparisons to the pandemic year of 2020 are analytically difficult,” Kevin McNamara, president and chief executive officer, said during an earnings call on Wednesday. “The pandemic clearly disrupted the hospice industry. The U.S. government stepped in to help with the relaxation of sequestration and several other operational modifications.”

He and other executives talked about how the pandemic affected the admissions and census of hospitals and senior care operators, which provide referrals to hospice companies. While hospital admissions generally have normalized, referrals from nursing homes and assisted living communities “continue to be disrupted,” said Nicholas M. Westfall, executive vice president.

He and McNamara emphasized that it is not clear when referrals will return to pre-pandemic levels.

‘’We feel confident in the rebound. It’s a question of timing and trajectory,” Westfall said.

Westfall noted that because of the challenges in senior living and hospitals, during the pandemic, physicians’ offices became the first point of contact for referral sources.

“We have doubled and tripled our efforts to support that and bridge and grow those relationships,” he said.

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