Executives share a handshake
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The Ensign Group has officially established its new captive real estate investment trust, Standard Bearer Healthcare REIT, executives announced Thursday. 

“While our real estate strategy has always been an important part of our DNA, we believe this new organizational structure allows us to take the next step with our already thriving real estate business,” Chad Keetch, Ensign’s chief investment officer and executive vice president, said as the company presented its fourth quarter earnings. 

He added that the company has already started evaluating transactions, which include healthcare properties that will be operated by Ensign affiliates and other third-party operators. 

Ensign first announced the formation of the REIT in late October, aiming to provide additional acquisition opportunities and give the company more flexibility in the use of and access to capital.

“By keeping our real estate company in-house, we will retain the cultural connection between the real estate business and the most important part of our business, which is the care and service that occurs in each operation on a daily basis,” Keetch emphasized. 

“We are and always will be operators first and the health of each operation will be paramount in every deal we consider,” he added.