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VITAS Healthcare Corporation Acquires Hospice in Phoenix, Arizona

CINCINNATI--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Dec. 16, 2004--Chemed Corporation (NYSE:CHE) today announced that its VITAS Healthcare Corporation subsidiary has acquired the assets of Premier Hospice and Palliative Care, located in Phoenix, Arizona, effective December 15, 2004. This acquisition adds approximately 220 patients to VITAS' network of hospice programs. VITAS is the nation's largest provider of end-of-life hospice care services. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Timothy O'Toole, Chief Executive Officer of VITAS, stated, "This acquisition reflects VITAS' entry into markets that present further opportunities for growth and expansion. Premier Hospice has established itself as a leading provider of quality hospice services in the Phoenix area. Moreover, it has distinguished itself with its dedicated team of employees and professional management. VITAS looks forward to building on Premier's strong presence in Phoenix and growing to meet the expanding end-of-life needs of the community.

Listed on the New York Stock Exchange and headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio, Chemed Corporation ( is the nation's largest provider of end-of-life hospice care services through its VITAS Healthcare Corporation subsidiary. Chemed also maintains a presence in the residential and commercial repair-and-maintenance industry through two subsidiaries. Roto-Rooter is North America's largest provider of plumbing and drain cleaning services. Service America Network Inc. provides major-appliance and heating/air-conditioning repair, maintenance, and replacement services.

VITAS Innovative Hospice Care(R), a pioneer and leader in the hospice movement since 1978, is the nation's largest provider of end-of-life care. Headquartered in Miami, Florida, VITAS (pronounced VEE-tahs) operates 33 hospice programs in 12 states (Arizona, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Wisconsin). VITAS employs 6,887 professionals who care for terminally ill patients daily, primarily in the patients' homes, but also in the company's 21 inpatient hospice units, as well as in hospitals, nursing homes and assisted-living/residential-care facilities for the elderly. At the conclusion of the third quarter of 2004, VITAS reported an average daily census of 8,949.

Statements in this press release or in other Chemed communications may relate to future events or Chemed's future performance. Such statements are forward-looking statements and are based on present information Chemed has related to its existing business circumstances. Investors are cautioned that such forward-looking statements are subject to inherent risk that actual results may differ materially from such forward-looking statements. Further, investors are cautioned that Chemed does not assume any obligation to update forward-looking statements based on unanticipated events or changed expectations.

    CONTACT: Chemed Corporation
             David P. Williams, 513-762-6901

    SOURCE: Chemed Corporation
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