For-profit system buys CHRISTUS St. Joseph Villa

March 15, 2011

The Ensign Group of Mission Viejo, Calif., has acquired CHRISTUS St. Joseph Villa of Salt Lake City, the only Catholic, not-for-profit senior care facility in Utah.

The Ensign Group is a for-profit company that owns 84 continuum-of-care facilities in seven states, including Utah. In January, it took over management control of the Villa, a campus with 221 skilled nursing beds, 48 assisted living units, 60 independent living apartments and a 12-bed psychiatric facility called CHRISTUS Marian Center.

Now part of Ensign, the Villa no longer is considered a ministry of the Catholic Church, but Ensign is operating it in accordance with the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services. The buyer has agreed to maintain the facility's chapel and work with the local bishop to continue to provide Mass there. Ensign is calling the long-term care facility St. Joseph Villa.

Administrators of parent company CHRISTUS Health said they had been seeking a buyer for the facility because of challenges they faced in updating the Villa to meet evolving resident expectations, for instance for a more homelike environment. CHRISTUS had sought approval to construct a new facility, but Salt Lake City had denied the request. CHRISTUS leaders said they decided that the Villa's ministry would be better served by an owner that was more closely linked to other continuum-of-care services around Salt Lake City and that could invest in the Villa. The Villa was CHRISTUS' only Utah facility.

The CHRISTUS leaders said they believe Ensign recognizes and values the culture and reputation established by the Villa's foundresses, the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word, and by the facility's employees.


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