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CIGNA HealthCare and VITAS Innovative Hospice Care Enter Into a National Agreement

MIAMI, June 23 /PRNewswire/ -- VITAS Innovative Hospice Care(R) and CIGNA HealthCare have signed a national agreement to ensure access to quality hospice services for CIGNA's 5.1 million members who reside in major metro markets in the 16 states served by VITAS.

"As a hospice pioneer and innovator, VITAS has always been a leader in expanding access to hospice services nationwide," noted Tim O'Toole, CEO of VITAS Innovative Hospice Care. "Partnering with CIGNA, one of America's leading and most respected health service organizations, will ensure that VITAS can continue to meet the ever-increasing demand for quality, compassionate, responsive end-of-life care from those who seek to maximize quality of life when they have a limited time left to live."

"How we care for people as they approach the end of their life is every bit as important as how we care for them throughout their lifetime," said David Ferriss, M.D., national medical officer for CIGNA HealthCare. "That's why it's so important to find a hospice partner like VITAS that can provide dignified and compassionate end-of-life care to people covered by a CIGNA health plan."

VITAS provides quality, compassionate end-of-life care for adult and pediatric patients with a wide range of life-limiting illnesses, including but not limited to cancer, heart disease, stroke, lung disease, liver disease, kidney disease, multiple sclerosis, ALS, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and AIDS.

CIGNA members will receive the full range of hospice services through VITAS. The coverage includes all prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, medical equipment and supplies required to treat the patient's life-limiting illness. All four levels of hospice care -- routine home care, Intensive Comfort Care(SM) (called Continuous Care by Medicare), General Inpatient Care and Respite Care -- are covered. VITAS also provides a full range of bereavement support, including grief and loss programs, support groups and memorial services, for patients and their families.

About Hospice Care

Because hospice is not a "place" as many believe, VITAS caregivers make visits throughout the community to care for patients in their own home, in nursing homes, and in assisted living communities. Hospice is provided in the home to better provide comfort, pain control and symptom management for a patient at the end of life. In fact, recent research published by the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization found that most Americans would prefer to receive end-of-life care at home and think hospice professionals are the most knowledgeable in helping them do so.

About CIGNA HealthCare

CIGNA HealthCare, a health service organization based in Bloomfield, Conn., works to improve the health, well-being and security of the people we serve. A leading provider of employee benefit services and programs, CIGNA HealthCare offers a broad array of medical, dental, behavioral health, and pharmacy benefits plans and coverage. We also build and provide health and wellness coaching programs and consumer information tools designed to improve health and help people in their health care decision-making. "CIGNA HealthCare" and the "Tree of Life" logo are registered service marks of CIGNA Intellectual Property, Inc., licensed for use by CIGNA Corporation (NYSE: CI) and its operating subsidiaries, including Connecticut General Life Insurance Company. All products and services are provided exclusively by such operating subsidiaries, and not by CIGNA Corporation. For more information, visit

About VITAS Innovative Hospice Care(R)

VITAS Innovative Hospice Care(R), a pioneer and leader in the hospice movement since 1978, is one of the nation's largest providers of end-of-life care. Headquartered in Miami, Florida, VITAS operates 44 hospice programs in 16 states (California, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kansas, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia and Wisconsin). VITAS, which has evolved from its founding as a volunteer organization by a United Methodist minister and a registered nurse, today employs 9,124 professionals who care for terminally ill patients daily, primarily in the patients' homes, but also in the company's 25 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 first quarter of 2008, VITAS reported an average daily census of 11,775; VITAS served more than 66,000 patients throughout all of 2007. The name, VITAS (pronounced VEE-tahs), is derived from the Latin word for lives. It symbolizes the VITAS mission: To preserve the quality of life for those who have a limited time to live.

Listed on the New York Stock Exchange and headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio, Chemed Corporation (NYSE: CHE) operates two wholly owned subsidiaries: VITAS Healthcare and Roto-Rooter. VITAS is the nation's largest provider of end-of-life hospice care, and Roto-Rooter is the nation's leading provider of plumbing and drain cleaning services.

For more information about VITAS' National Accounts initiatives, contact: VITAS Innovative Hospice Care(R), National Accounts Department at 1.800.873.5198, or

SOURCE VITAS Innovative Hospice Care
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