Ensign Broadens Care Continuum Footprint With Acquisition of Urgent Care Franchise

The Ensign Group, Inc. (NASDAQ:ENSG) announced on March 5 that its urgent care joint venture, Immediate Clinic LLC, has acquired Doctors Express, a national urgent care franchise system, effective Thursday, March 1.

“The combination of the Doctors Express franchise system with Immediate Clinic’s company-owned walk-in clinics broadens our reach into the urgent care business,” said Christopher Christensen, Ensign’s President and CEO, adding that the arrangement will create “operating synergies” for the combined venture and will provide Ensign with “rapid access to a national network of urgent care facilities, without an enormous capital investment.”

The acquisition, Doctors Express, will retain its name, identity, and franchised operating model, and will be operated by an Immediate Clinic subsidiary. It currently has 49 franchised urgent care centers in operation, with an additional 85 franchises under contract and expected to be operating by the end of 2012.


Ensign established its urgent care business, Immediate Clinic, in early 2012 in a joint venture that enables it to provide routine physician services along with the sub-acute, skilled nursing, physical therapy, home health, hospice, assisted living, and other services that the group’s various business provide.

The company notes that the acquisition allows Ensign to further expand its footprint within the full continuum of care while simultaneously diversifying its revenue sources.

Design and construction planning for several new Immediate Clinic centers is currently underway, and the joint venture is also seeking opportunities to acquire existing urgent care operations across the United States. To date, Ensign has committed $4 million to its urgent care venture, and expects Immediate Clinic to open its first company-owned facilities within the second quarter of 2012. The company’s CEO expects urgent care operations to be operationally dilutive to Ensign’s earnings in 2012, and will become accretive to earnings in 2013.


Written by Alyssa Gerace

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