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The Ensign Group Successfully Graduates Third Nursing Home From CMS Special Focus Program
Date:4/9/2009

MISSION VIEJO, Calif., April 9 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- The Ensign Group, Inc. (Nasdaq: ENSG) announced today that its Mt. Ogden Health & Rehabilitation Center in Ogden, Utah has successfully graduated from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services' Special Focus Facility program.

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"It was a team effort, and only a small part of what we're accomplishing as we strive to make Mt. Ogden the Ogden area's skilled nursing facility of choice," said Brad Albrechtsen, Mt. Ogden's Executive Director. He also praised the Utah Department of Health's licensing and certification staff, adding that the Mt. Ogden team is "deeply grateful to the staff at UDH for their help, support and confidence in Mt. Ogden and its people."

The facility, which was acquired by an Ensign operating subsidiary in July 2006, was added to the Special Focus program in 2007 based largely on events that occurred prior to Ensign's arrival. Special Focus status is invoked based on a facility's operating history going back three years, regardless of whether a change of ownership has occurred over that time.

The Mt. Ogden team completed the complex turnaround in less than 16 months, while simultaneously completing significant renovations and upgrades to the 108-bed skilled nursing facility and its care programs and systems.

Noting the speed with which the Mt. Ogden team completed the turnaround, Christopher Christensen, Ensign's President and CEO, observed that, "Although the kinds of problems that merit Special Focus designation do not usually get fixed overnight, we are proud of the sweeping and meaningful changes the Mt. Ogden team made, and the urgency with which they made them."

With 70 locations in seven western states, Ensign acquires both well-performing and struggling facilities, and has long been known in the skilled nursing industry as a turnaround specialist. Ensign teams previously graduated Waverly Park, a 200-bed skilled nursing facility in Tucson, Arizona, and Pocatello Care & Rehabilitation Center, an 88-bed skilled nursing facility in Pocatello, Idaho, from the Special Focus program. Both had been placed on Special Focus due in significant part to their regulatory histories prior to Ensign's acquisition of the facilities, and both are model facilities today.

At present, Ensign has one remaining facility on the Special Focus list. "We're not afraid of challenging facilities," said Mr. Christensen, noting that one of Ensign's founding objectives was to raise quality standards across the skilled nursing industry "one facility at a time." He added that the company is actively looking for additional opportunities to acquire both well-performing and struggling long-term care operations.

About The Ensign Group, Inc.

The Ensign Group, Inc.'s independent operating subsidiaries provide a broad spectrum of skilled nursing and assisted living services, physical, occupational and speech therapies, and other rehabilitative and healthcare services for both long-term residents and short-stay rehabilitation patients at 70 facilities in California, Arizona, Texas, Washington, Utah, Idaho and Colorado. More information about Ensign is available at http://www.ensigngroup.net.


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SOURCE The Ensign Group, Inc.
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