Joseph Shega, MD
Chief Medical Officer
Joseph Shega, MD, is executive vice president and chief medical officer for VITAS Healthcare, the nation’s leading provider of end-of-life care. He is board certified in geriatric and hospice and palliative medicine, and has been caring for, studying, and teaching about geriatric patients and end-of-life care since 1999. He joined VITAS in 2013 as regional medical director, was named senior vice president and national medical director in 2016, and was promoted to chief medical officer in 2018 and to executive vice president in 2021.
In his role as chief medical officer, Dr. Shega oversees and leads the medical direction for all VITAS locations in 14 states and the District of Columbia. He provides leadership to all VITAS regional medical directors and oversees physician services.
Dr. Shega has been instrumental in strengthening the VITAS “mobile-first” platform, bringing mobile technology to the bedside in patients’ homes and assisted living communities to improve clinical care through enhanced and streamlined documentation, medication management, care coordination, and alternate treatment modalities such as virtual reality.
He also spearheaded efforts to integrate clinical research as a core pillar at VITAS by partnering with New York University and participating in the Hospice Advanced Dementia Symptom Management and Quality of Life Trial funded by the National Institutes of Health. His membership in the American Academy of Neurology’s Dementia and Mild Cognitive Impairment measurement group has improved quality measures and palliative care for patients with dementia.
Dr. Shega is an associate professor of medicine at the University of Central Florida and co-managing editor for Essential Practices in Hospice and Palliative Medicine. He is a member of the Academy of Medicine roundtable on quality care for persons with serious illness—a topic on which he has authored over 50 peer-reviewed publications. He also served on the editorial board of the Journal of Pain and Symptom Management. In 2022, Forbes invited Dr. Shega to join an exclusive group of board-certified, experienced clinicians and practitioners. As a Forbes Health Advisory Board member, Dr. Shega provides insights and feedback on health-related Forbes articles – ensuring that articles remain objective, current and accurate.
Prior to joining VITAS, Dr. Shega spent 15 years working in academic medicine, clinical care, and research at Northwestern University and the University of Chicago. His focuses included geriatric and palliative medicine consultations, inpatient palliative care, nursing home care, outpatient geriatrics, home visits, and hospice services.
Dr. Shega completed medical school at Northwestern University, with a residency in internal medicine at the University of Pittsburgh and a geriatrics fellowship at the University of Chicago.
Articles by Joseph Shega MD
- Sepsis Develops Frequently in Hospice-Eligible Patients, Yet End-of-Life Care Is Rarely Addressed
- Quality of Life: Ask the Right Questions. Then Listen.
- An Open Letter from Joseph W. Shega, MD
- Hospice Eligibility Guidelines
- Hospice Admission Guidelines for Patients with Sepsis and Concomitant End-Stage Disease
- A Hospice Eligibility Checklist for Emergency Department Staff