The Ensign Group Successfully Graduates Second Nursing Home From CMS Special Focus Program

Tuesday, December 2, 2008 General News
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POCATELLO, Idaho, Dec. 1 The Ensign Group, Inc.(Nasdaq: ENSG) announced that its Pocatello Care & Rehabilitation Center inPocatello, Idaho has successfully graduated from the Centers for Medicare andMedicaid Services' Special Focus program.


A clinical team led by Laurie House, Director of Nursing at Pocatello Care& Rehabilitation Center, completed the complex turnaround in only eightmonths. The 88-bed skilled nursing facility passed its final Special Focusinspection in September 2008, and received official notice from the IdahoDepartment of Health & Welfare that it had graduated from the Special Focusprogram on November 29th. In its letter, IDHW recognized and commended"Ensign's commitment to improving the quality of services provided to theresidents" of Pocatello Care & Rehabilitation Center.

Dennis Carlson, Chief Executive Officer of Pocatello Care & RehabilitationCenter, expressed appreciation for the hard work and dedication of Ms. Houseand her care staff. "They are amazing," he said, adding that he and the wholeteam were also "deeply grateful to the staff at the Idaho Department of Healthand Welfare and the Area Agency on Aging for their help, support andconfidence in us."

Noting the speed with which Mr. Carlson and the Pocatello Care &Rehabilitation Center team completed the turnaround, Christopher Christensen,Ensign's President and CEO, observed that, "Although problems serious enoughto merit Special Focus designation do not usually get fixed overnight, we areproud of the sweeping and meaningful changes the Pocatello team made, and theurgency with which they made them." He added that the Pocatello team has beenan inspiration to other Ensign teams elsewhere who are or will be executingturnaround projects.

Ensign operating subsidiaries, with 63 locations in six western states,acquire both well-performing and struggling facilities, and have long beenknown in the skilled nursing industry as turnaround specialists. An Ensignteam previously graduated Waverly Park, a 200-bed skilled nursing facility inTucson, Arizona, from the Special Focus program. Waverly Park was placed onSpecial Focus status in 2005, based largely on events that occurred prior toEnsign's acquisition of the facility from a bankrupt operator.

At present, Ensign has one remaining facility on the Special Focus list.Mt. Ogden Rehabilitation & Care Center in Ogden, Utah was placed on SpecialFocus status in early 2008. Unlike Pocatello, which had a much betterregulatory history when it was acquired in October 2006, Mt. Ogden reachedSpecial Focus status based on several serious incidents that occurred prior toEnsign's arrival, including the accidental drowning of a patient.

Mr. Christensen said that the Mt. Ogden clinical team, with support fromEnsign resource personnel, has made significant progress toward graduatingthat facility from Special Focus as well. "We're not afraid of thesechallenging facilities," he said, noting that one of Ensign's foundingobjectives was to raise quality standards across the skilled nursing industry"one facility at a time." He added that the company is actively looking foradditional opportunities to acquire both well-performing and strugglinglong-term care operations.

About The Ensign Group, Inc.

The Ensign Group, Inc.'s independent operating subsidiaries provide abroad spectrum of skilled nursing and assisted living services, physical,occupational and speech therapies, and other rehabilitative and healthcareservices for both long-term residents and short-stay rehabilitation patientsat 63 facilities in California, Arizona, Texas, Washington, Utah and Idaho.More information about Ensign is available at

SOURCE The Ensign Group, Inc.

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