Christopher R. Christensen

Increased senior living revenue helped position the Ensign Group for a record quarter to finish 2018, Ensign President and CEO Christopher Christensen told analysts participating in an earnings call Thursday.

“We are thrilled to report a record quarter as we achieved our highest adjusted earnings per share in our history,” Christensen said in a statement. “The improvement we have been expecting in many of our operations, especially in Texas and Utah, is now materializing and making a meaningful contribution to our performance. However, we have many operations across all of our different buckets in all our geographies that still have tremendous organic upside, even in some of our most mature markets.”

In 2019, the CEO said, “We think, on a percentage basis, we’ll grow a little bit faster in home health and hospice and assisted living than we will in skilled nursing.”

Total assisted living services segment revenue in 2018 was up 11.1% over the previous year, to $151.8 million, and adjusted EBITDAR (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, amortization, and restructuring or rent costs) for the year was up 9.1% over the past year, to $52.8 million.

Ensign’s assisted living and independent living portfolio company, which provides senior living services in 12 states, increased its segment revenue and adjusted EBITDAR in 2018 by 11.1% and 9.1%, respectively, over the prior year, Christensen said.

Ensign’s senior living portfolio company acquired the real estate and operations of Villa Court Assisted Living and Memory Care, a 53-unit assisted living and 20-unit memory care community in Las Vegas, in October, Executive Vice President and Secretary Chad A. Keetch said.

“We are thrilled to expand our senior housing footprint in Las Vegas,” Christensen said. It’s a market in which we anticipate growing as we rely on the talented leaders there that each seek to become the community of choice in their area.”

Other acquisitions in the quarter, according to Keetch:

  • Four assisted living communities in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, including Canyon Creek Memory Care, a 52-unit memory care community in Temple, TX; Bridgewater Memory Care, a 52-unit memory care community in Granbury, TX; Lakeshore Assisted Living and Memory Care, a 46-unit assisted living and 30-unit memory care community in Rockwall, TX; and Windsor Court Senior Living, a retirement community with 36 independent living units, 16 memory care units and seven assisted living units in Weatherford, TX.
  • Rock Creek of Ottawa, an Ottawa, KS, post-acute care retirement campus with 24 independent living units, 71 assisted living units and 93 skilled nursing beds.
  • Creekside Transitional Care and Rehabilitation, a 21-unit assisted living community and 139-bed skilled nursing facility in Meridian, ID, and Bennett Hills Rehabilitation and Care Center, a 44-bed skilled nursing facility in Gooding, ID.

Ensign’s portfolio now includes 189 skilled nursing operations, 24 of which also include assisted living operations; 55 assisted and independent living operations; 23 hospice agencies; 24 home health agencies; and seven home care businesses across 16 states. The company continues to seek to acquire real estate and to lease well-performing and struggling assisted living, skilled nursing and other healthcare-related businesses in markets that are new or existing for Ensign, Christensen said.

Same-store skilled services occupancy was 78.8%, an increase of 63 basis points over 2017, and transitioning skilled services occupancy was 75%, an increase of 296 basis points over last year.

Total home health and hospice services segment revenue for 2018 was up 20% over 2017, to $170.9 million, and segment income for the year was up 32.5% over past year, to $26.1 million.