The Ensign Group, Inc. (Nasdaq:ENSG) announced on Jan. 10 that it is entering into a joint venture to develop and operate urgent care facilities and related businesses with Dr. John Shufeldt, founder and former CEO of one of the nation’s largest and most successful privately-owned providers of urgent care and occupational medical services.
Shufeldt has been tapped to lead the new venture, Immediate Clinic, LLC.
“Dr. Shufeldt is one of the most well-respected leaders in the urgent care industry, and our association with him is consistent with our core ‘talent-first’ philosophy for delivering care,” said Christopher Christensen, Ensign’s President and CEO, in a statement. “It’s a privilege to partner with Dr. Shufeldt and the Immediate Clinic team as they establish a new benchmark for top-quality urgent care service.”
The idea of the venture, which will add “routine physician services” to the sub-acute, skilled nursing, physical therapy, home health, hospice, and assisted living services provided by Ensign, appeals to the company because it will be able to expand its footprint “within the full continuum of care, while simultaneously diversifying our payor sources,” Christensen said.
Entering into this partnership will enhance Ensign’s relationships with hospital systems, physician groups, managed care organizations, accountable care organizations, and other providers and payors, and be accretive to the company’s existing businesses, the company president expects.
“As new health reforms are implemented, Immediate Clinic will be primed to meet patient needs by filling the middle ground between primary care physicians and hospital emergency departments,” said Shufeldt, adding that bringing together customer-driven healthcare and innovative medical technologies to deliver superior urgent care and occupational services will enable Immediate Clinic to emerge as a “true leader” in the urgent care industry.
Design and construction planning for new Immediate Clinic locations is now underway, and the venture is seeking opportunities to acquire existing urgent care operations across the United States.
Ensign has committed $4 million to the joint venture to date, and expects the first clinics to open within the second quarter of 2012.
Written by Alyssa Gerace