Occupancy Fluctuations Seen Among PACS, Ensign as Sector Remains Flat

Occupancy shifts appear to be happening across the largest nursing home operators, with the Ensign Group (Nasdaq: ENSG) seeing facility occupancy fall as other leading sector players showed gains while overall sector occupancy levels remained steady.

Ensign’s occupancy levels dropped to 78.5%, posting a loss of 40 basis points.

Meanwhile, PACS Group (NYSE: PACS) saw occupancy levels at its facilities rise to 89.1%, increasing by 20 basis points, according to a report from investment firm Stephens Inc., which based these numbers on an analysis of federal data.


The nursing home industry overall saw occupancy remain flat at 78.4% in May, leaving Ensign and PACs still above the national average. 

Typical turnaround acquisitions tend to have lower occupancy at the time of transition, Ensign’s investor relations team said in an email; this impacts consolidated occupancy.

“Occupancy is more complicated than it might appear,” the Ensign team added. “Consolidated occupancy does not give a complete picture of why there is census movement from one month/quarter to the next. For example, occupancy across the organization on May 1 would have been lower due to the seven acquisitions which occurred on that date.”


Seasonality is a factor in many of Ensign’s operating states too. The team anticipates some related fluctuations in occupancy consistent with what has been experienced in the past.

Stephens analysts drilled down further into market-specific occupancy numbers, finding that Ensign’s occupancy grew month-over-month in six of its 14 states. PACS occupancy grew in three of its nine operating states.

This data accounts for Ensign’s seven acquisitions completed in May, but it excludes the two SNFs acquired in June. The operator on June 4 announced the addition of a 58-bed facility, Springs at St. Andrews Village in Colorado, and a 32-bed facility, Wellsprings of Gilbert in Arizona.

For PACS, May’s analysis also excludes the massive 53-SNF Prestige deal, expected to close in the third financial quarter. The facilities in the pending deal are currently operated by family-owned Prestige and comprise 2,511 skilled nursing beds and 1,334 assisted living and independent living units.

Stephens maintained occupancy forecasts for Ensign and PACS at 80% and 88.9%, respectively, while awaiting June data.

PACS didn’t respond to requests for comment by the time of publication.

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