VITAS Healthcare Celebrates 40th Anniversary with MDC Freedom Tower Illumination

Miami, Florida, UNITED STATES

Miami, Fla., Jan. 16, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- VITAS Healthcare, the nation’s leading provider of end-of-life care, celebrated its 40th anniversary, the company’s crucial role in the South Florida health care industry and its influence on the national hospice movement, with a ceremony at the Miami Dade College (MDC) Freedom Tower on Tuesday, Jan. 15. The National Historic Landmark was illuminated purple to honor VITAS’ four decades of advancing the American hospice movement and compassionate care for hospice patients and families.


Founded in 1978 by two members of MDC’s faculty, VITAS Healthcare, was one of the nation’s first hospice programs. VITAS helped pass Florida’s first-in-the-nation hospice licensure law, which immediately became a model for other states and the federal government. In the more than 40 years since caring for its first patient, VITAS has continued to lead the American hospice movement, committed to finding and closing gaps in end-of-life care. VITAS ensures that terminally ill patients of all lifestyles and their families have access to compassionate and high-quality hospice care.


Since its founding in Miami, VITAS has cared for more than 1.6 million patients. Today, VITAS employs over 12,000 professionals who care for approximately 18,000 patients daily, in 14 states and the District of Columbia.


MDC’s President, Dr. Eduardo J. Padrón, and VITAS Healthcare CEO, Nick Westfall, were in attendance for the ceremony and provided brief remarks at the illumination ceremony.


“VITAS is a lot like the Freedom Tower,” noted Westfall before lighting the tower. “An iconic community landmark that serves as a symbol of passage and hope. In the 1960s and ‘70s, the tower was a beacon of welcome for nearly half a million refugees who came to the United States through South Florida on their own journeys, in search of a better quality of life. It is appropriate that we stand tonight in this building, celebrating the past 40 years of VITAS’ commitment to our patients, families and employees, and looking forward to the journey that lies ahead.”


“Last night evening’s ceremony was very much about hope, our collective hope that we continue improving the quality of life of our residents. At MDC, we recognize the impact VITAS has had in the lives of countless individuals and families who have benefited from the care and compassion of hospice care during life’s final moments,” added Dr. Padrón.


To learn more about VITAS Healthcare’s 40th anniversary, its history as a leader in hospice, and milestones across its past four decades, please visit


VITAS Healthcare – 40 Years Strong
Established in 1978, VITAS® Healthcare is a pioneer and leader in the American hospice movement. Headquartered in Miami, Florida, VITAS (pronounced VEE-tahs) operates 47 hospice programs in 14 states (California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kansas, Missouri, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia and Wisconsin) and the District of Columbia. VITAS employs 12,145 professionals who care for terminally ill patients daily, primarily in the patients’ homes, and also in the company’s 27 inpatient hospice units as well as in hospitals, nursing homes and assisted living communities/residential care facilities for the elderly. At the conclusion of the third quarter of 2018, VITAS reported an average daily census of 17,976. Visit



(From left) VITAS CEO Nick Westfall with Commissioners Eileen Higgins and Ken Russell and Miami Dade College's President Eduardo Padron after switching on the purple lights. Miami Dade College Freedom Tower illuminated purple to honor VITAS' 40th Anniversary.