Assisted Living Offers Promise For Future, Ensign Group CEO Says

August 6, 2017, Lois Bowers, McKnight's Senior Living - Assisted living, along with home health, hospice, nonemergency medical transportation and other post-acute services are areas that offer encouragement for the future of The Ensign Group and its operating affiliates, President and CEO Christopher Christensen told participants in a Friday call about second-quarter earnings.

“The income growth each of these business ventures has achieved is further evidence of the organization's agility and ability to apply its operating principles in several healthcare services,” he said.

Assisted living accounted for 7.3% of Ensign's revenue as of the first quarter, according to supplemental materials from the company.  Assisted living and independent living revenue growth went from almost $41 million in 2013 to almost $126 million for the 12 trailing months as of May.

Chief Financial Officer Suzanne Snapper told those on the call that Bridgestone Living, the company's assisted and independent living subsidiary, grew its segment income by 12.1% to $3.7 million over the prior-year quarter.

The company's earnings per share of  $0.31 for the quarter missed analysts' expectations by $0.05, and although Christensen said he was not pleased with the overall results for the quarter, he remained confident in Ensign's annual guidance for 2017.  “We're reaffirming our projected revenues of $1.76 billion to $1.8 billion and annual earnings per share guidance of $1.46 to $1.53 per diluted share,” he said.

Revenue of $448.28 million for the quarter, up 9.2% year over year, beat analysts' expectations by $4.85 million.

Christensen cited Ensign's Harbor View Assisted Living in Manitowoc, WI, as an example of improvements in assisted living operations seen by the company.

“Under the leadership of Executive Director Tammy Wagner and Wellness Director Lindsay Holdorf, this operation has improved in almost every metric,” he said.  “Together, Tammy and Lindsay have immersed themselves into the community to overcome a challenging reputation we inherited at the time of acquisition to gain the trust of the healthcare community and the families in Manitowoc.  By systematically improving culture, this operation has improved occupancy by 33.6%, resulting in an increase in earnings before interest and taxes of 253.5% over last year's quarter.”

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