Ensign Group Announces Acquisitions Of Skilled Nursing Facilities In Idaho and Utah

The Ensign Group, Inc. (Nasdaq: ENSG), announced earlier this week that it has acquired the underlying real estate and other operating assets of Paramount Health & Rehabilitation Center, an 85-bed skilled nursing facility in Salt Lake City. An Ensign subsidiary has been operating the facility since December of 2008 under a lease with an option to purchase. The acquisition was effective December 31, 2009.  The acquisition also included rights to 14 additional Medicaid beds, which Ensign has elected to temporarily "bank" with the State of Utah.

"This acquisition reflects our deep and long-term commitment to Paramount’s local community in particular, and to the State of Utah in general," said Derek Gasser, President of Ensign’s Utah-based Milestone Healthcare subsidiary. He added that the facility was struggling with 51% occupancy and other issues when Ensign acquired the operation in late 2008, but finished 2009 with occupancy near 70%, and is on track to be accretive to earnings in the fourth quarter of 2009. "We have more work ahead of us, but we are very pleased with the facility’s progress and the community’s response thus far," he affirmed.

Ensign also acquired Emmett Care & Rehabilitation Center, a 72-bed skilled nursing facility in Emmett, Idaho, and Parke View Rehabilitation & Care Center, an 86-bed skilled nursing facility in Burley, Idaho, on January 1, 2010. The Emmett facility was recently remodeled, and is still rebuilding its occupancy following the renovation. The Burley facility, which was originally built as a County hospital, includes approximately 8,000 square feet of commercial office space, which is leased to various tenants and provides additional income to the operations there.The Idaho purchases, like the Salt Lake City purchase, were made with cash.