PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) — A hospice care provider opened its doors to start serving clients in the Panhandle.
Florida based company VITAS Healthcare held a virtual grand opening ceremony for their new Panama City office location. The office will serve as a hub for team members to provide care for patients in Bay, Gulf, Holmes, Calhoun, Jackson and Washington counties.
VITAS Healthcare said they are taking all the recommended safety precautions amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We are following the Florida governor’s mandate, especially for the nursing home and assisted livings where our employees are tested at least every two weeks through the county health department,” explained Terry Holecek, VITAS Healthcare Northern Florida vice president of operations. “We also have a VITAS contract with Quest Diagnostics that helps us with testing of our employees, tracking and ensuring safety for our patients that we serve in the nursing homes and assisted livings.”
The hospice care provider also highlighted job opportunities the new location brings especially for a community still recovering from Hurricane Michael.
“Everyone is still rebuilding, I still have people on my street living in trailers but ultimately everyone is fighting back. Great community, everyone is starting to move forward. Having a company like this to be able to come in here and offer job opportunities for over 40 something people, it’s huge,” said Kenn Wallace, VITAS Healthcare Panama City general manager.
Wallace also noted that an office in Marianna will be established in the future as well as an another office at an undetermined location.
VITAS Healthcare stated that in their effort to help the community rebuild they will be distributing around $450,000 in grants to local housing and medical assistance programs, food banks as well as various scholarship opportunities.