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Ensign Group executives believe the company is in an excellent position to soon reach pre-pandemic occupancy levels after seeing overall growth for the fifth consecutive quarter. 

The latest gains came despite intense labor challenges and the omicron variant, which wreaked havoc on many providers’ recovery plans. 

The California-based company reported its occupancy increased to 74.2% during the first quarter of 2022 — an increase from 71.1% reported during last year’s first quarter. Same-store occupancy also increased to 75.1% during the quarter, which was a 2.9% change from last year’s first quarter. Occupancy at transitioning operations (those purchased between Jan. 1, 2019 and Dec. 31, 2020) increased by 6.2% to reach 72.6%. 

The company also reported that its same store and transitioning managed care revenue improved by 10.2% and 22.8%, respectively. 

“This continued improvement in our occupancies, coupled with the growth in skilled mix, gives us confidence that we are in an excellent position to return to pre-pandemic levels over time,” Ensign CEO Barry Port said in a statement Thursday. Port added the company was “particularly pleased that [it] sequential growth in overall occupancy for the fifth consecutive quarter.

“As we get closer to what we hope will soon be the end of the pandemic, our leaders’ focus is to return to sound operating fundamentals on both the revenue and expense fronts,” he added. “Each operation is looking ahead and forming a comprehensive strategy to thrive in spite of an evolving reimbursement environment, staffing challenges and inflationary pressures.” 

Ensign also added nine total skilled nursing and senior living facilities during the quarter. Executives said the growth should illustrate the company’s confidence in its ability to perform both in the short- and long-run. 

“We have been extra diligent to ensure that each new addition had the full support of a healthy market, a proven leadership plan and a clear pathway to strong clinical and financial performance,” Chad Keetch, Ensign’s CIO and executive vice president, said.