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TheStreet Open House

The Ensign Group Agrees To Sell Doctors Express Franchise System

MISSION VIEJO, Calif., March 25, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The Ensign Group, Inc. (Nasdaq:ENSG), the parent company of the Ensign™ group of skilled nursing, rehabilitative care services, hospice care, assisted living and urgent care companies, today announced that its urgent care subsidiary, Immediate Clinic Healthcare, Inc., agreed to terms to sell Doctors Express, a national urgent care franchise system, to American Family Care, Inc. (AFC).

Founded in 1982 and based in Birmingham, Alabama, AFC is one of the largest and oldest operators of urgent care and accessible primary care facilities in the country with 37 clinics in Alabama, Georgia and Tennessee. The asset sale is expected to be effective on Monday, April 15, 2013, and remains subject to certain closing conditions.

"We remain very excited about the prospects for our five existing state-of-the-art urgent care clinics in the greater Seattle area, which we retained in the transaction, and we plan to expand further in that important market," said Christopher Christensen, Ensign's President and Chief Executive Officer. "While we continue to view urgent care as an important addition to the sub-acute, skilled nursing, physical therapy, home health, hospice, assisted living and other services our various businesses provide, the considerable investment and time required to further develop the franchise model has lead us to conclude that we can better use our resources by developing additional Immediate Clinic centers," he added.

Mr. Christensen reemphasized Ensign's core commitment to the skilled nursing industry, noting that he expects the addition of Immediate Clinic's physician-driven retail healthcare capabilities to enhance Ensign's relationships with hospital systems, physician groups, managed care organizations, accountable care organizations and other providers and payors, and be accretive to Ensign's existing businesses, while simultaneously diversifying Ensign's payor sources.

Michael Dalton, President and CEO of Immediate Clinic Healthcare, added that, "As new health reforms are implemented, Immediate Clinic will be primed to meet patient needs by filling the middle ground between primary care physicians and hospital emergency departments." He further said that by bringing together customer-driven health care and innovative medical technologies to deliver superior urgent care and occupational medical services, Immediate Clinic can become a true leader in the urgent care industry.

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