Executives from Ensign Group reviewed the company’s operations and growth strategies at the Capital Markets Global Health Care Conference yesterday with an eye on moving toward post-pandemic expectations.

The company’s independent operating subsidiaries provide skilled nursing and senior living services, physical, occupational and speech therapies and other rehabilitative and healthcare services at 236 healthcare facilities in 13 states.

Chief Investment Officer Chad Keetch attributed the company’s success this past year to its field leadership. 

“We make a concerted effort to try to attract CFO- and CEO-caliber leaders in our facilities that run both the operational and clinical side of those communities,” he said. It was essential to have strong leaders at that level to make strong decisions while remaining flexible during the pandemic he added.

From the outset, Keetch said, decisions had to be made “to try to figure out how to work within the storm rather than hunker down and wait for it to pass.” One forward-looking partner in the greater Salt Lake area, he said, worked with Utah’s COVID-19 task force and local hospitals to create a facility that would accept only COVID-specific patients, and a facility in Arizona designated some wings specifically for COVID-positive patients during the height of the pandemic.

Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice President Suzanne Snapper said the company looked at the type of patients and residents they were accepting and the characteristics of those individuals in terms of Medicare’s Patient-Driven Payment Model compared with other providers.

“As we looked at those conditions and then we looked at the national prevalence of those conditions, we can see that our patients are having those conditions at a lower rate than is projected from some of these national studies,” she said.