Ensign Group’s future ‘brighter than ever,’ growth-minded CEO says


After picking up 11 new skilled nursing facilities and restoring occupancy at several others in its extensive holdings, the Ensign Group’s future is “brighter than ever,” CEO Barry Port said on a second-quarter earnings call Tuesday. 

Port said the San Juan Capistrano, CA-based company, which has grown to 259 healthcare facilities in 13 states, has seen improvement in occupancies, skilled revenue and managed care revenue. Operators also have achieved sequential growth in overall occupancy for the sixth consecutive quarter.

“In addition, we saw improvements in occupancies with same-store and transitioning occupancy increasing by 1.8% and 6.4%, respectively, over the prior year quarter,” Port said. 

Chief Investment Officer Chad Keetch said that the Ensign Group has added 11 new operations during the quarter ending June 30 “and since.” Those included six skilled nursing facilities in Texas, one skilled nursing facility in Nevada, a healthcare campus in Arizona,  and three senior living communities in California and  in Washington. 

He said that Ensign is familiar with most of the regions involved, particularly in Texas, where it has grown its footprint substantially amid pandemic conditions and the state’s eight years without a Medicaid rate increase.

Las Vegas, however, is a new market for the company. Ensign also has an existing presence in Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, South Carolina, Utah, Washington and Wisconsin. 

Captive REIT Standard Bearer  added six new real estate operations, all of which will be leased to an Ensign affiliated tenant. Standard Bearer now includes 101 properties owned by the company and leased to 73 affiliated skilled nursing and senior living operations and 29 senior living operations that are leased to the Pennant Group. 

“These acquisitions continue to showcase one of Standard Bearer’s primary strategies, which is to capture the upside…