10-K 1 ctre-20231231.htm 10-K ctre-20231231
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UNITED STATES
SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Washington, D.C. 20549
Form 10-K
 (Mark One)
ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2023
or
TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For the transition period from _____ to _____
Commission file number 001-36181
CareTrust REIT, Inc.
(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)
Maryland46-3999490
(State or other jurisdiction of incorporation or organization)(I.R.S. Employer Identification No.)
905 Calle Amanecer, Suite 300, San Clemente, CA 92673
(Address of principal executive offices, including zip code)
Registrant’s telephone number, including area code (949) 542-3130
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:
Title of each classTrading Symbol(s)Name of each exchange on which registered
Common Stock, par value $0.01 per shareCTRENew York Stock Exchange
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act: None
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act. Yes    No 
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or Section 15(d) of the Act. Yes    No 
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days. Yes    No 
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically every Interactive Data File required to be submitted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit such files). Yes    No 
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, a smaller reporting company, or an emerging growth company. See the definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer,” “smaller reporting company” and “emerging growth company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.
Large accelerated filerAccelerated filer
Non-accelerated filerSmaller reporting company
Emerging growth company
If an emerging growth company, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act.  
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has filed a report on and attestation to its management’s assessment of the effectiveness of its internal control over financial reporting under Section 404(b) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (15 U.S.C. 7262(b)) by the registered public accounting firm that prepared or issued its audit report.
If securities are registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act, indicate by check mark whether the financial statements of the registrant included in the filing reflect the correction of an error to previously issued financial statements.
Indicate by check mark whether any of those error corrections are restatements that required a recovery analysis of incentive-based compensation received by any of the registrant’s executive officers during the relevant recovery period pursuant to §240.10D-1(b).
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined by Rule 12b-2 of the Act.) Yes    No 


State the aggregate market value of the voting and non-voting common equity held by non-affiliates computed by reference to the price at which the common equity was last sold, or the average bid and asked price of such common equity, as of the last business day of the registrant’s most recently completed second fiscal quarter: $2.0 billion.
As of February 7, 2024, there were 130,503,392 shares of the registrant’s common stock outstanding.
DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE
Portions of the definitive Proxy Statement for the registrant’s 2024 Annual Meeting of Stockholders, which will be filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission within 120 days after the end of fiscal year 2023, are incorporated by reference into Part III of this Report.



TABLE OF CONTENTS
 
PART I
Item 1.
Item 1A.
Item 1B.
Item 1C.
Item 2.
Item 3.
Item 4.
PART II
Item 5.
Item 6.
Item 7.
Item 7A.
Item 8.
Item 9.
Item 9A.
Item 9B.
Item 9C.
PART III
Item 10.
Item 11.
Item 12.
Item 13.
Item 14.
PART IV
Item 15.
Item 16.
Signatures



3

STATEMENT REGARDING FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS
Certain statements in this report may constitute forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Those forward-looking statements include all statements that are not historical statements of fact and those regarding our intent, belief or expectations, including, but not limited to, statements regarding: future financing plans, business strategies, growth prospects and operating and financial performance; expectations regarding the making of distributions and the payment of dividends; and compliance with and changes in governmental regulations.
Words such as “anticipate(s),” “expect(s),” “intend(s),” “plan(s),” “believe(s),” “may,” “will,” “would,” “could,” “should,” “seek(s)” and similar expressions, or the negative of these terms, are intended to identify such forward-looking statements. These statements are based on management’s current expectations and beliefs and are subject to a number of risks and uncertainties that could lead to actual results differing materially from those projected, forecasted or expected. Although we believe that the assumptions underlying the forward-looking statements are reasonable, we can give no assurance that our expectations will be attained. Factors which could have a material adverse effect on our operations and future prospects or which could cause actual results to differ materially from our expectations include, but are not limited to: (i) the ability and willingness of our tenants to meet and/or perform their obligations under the triple-net leases we have entered into with them, including without limitation, their respective obligations to indemnify, defend and hold us harmless from and against various claims, litigation and liabilities; (ii) the risk that we may have to incur additional impairment charges related to our assets held for sale if we are unable to sell such assets at the prices we expect; (iii) the impact of healthcare reform legislation, including minimum staffing level requirements, on the operating results and financial conditions of our tenants; (iv) the ability of our tenants to comply with applicable laws, rules and regulations in the operation of the properties we lease to them; (v) the ability and willingness of our tenants to renew their leases with us upon their expiration, and the ability to reposition our properties on the same or better terms in the event of nonrenewal or in the event we replace an existing tenant, as well as any obligations, including indemnification obligations, we may incur in connection with the replacement of an existing tenant; (vi) the availability of and the ability to identify (a) tenants who meet our credit and operating standards, and (b) suitable acquisition opportunities and the ability to acquire and lease the respective properties to such tenants on favorable terms; (vii) the ability to generate sufficient cash flows to service our outstanding indebtedness; (viii) access to debt and equity capital markets; (ix) fluctuating interest rates; (x) the impact of public health crises, including significant COVID-19 outbreaks as well as other pandemics or epidemics; (xi) the ability to retain our key management personnel; (xii) the ability to maintain our status as a real estate investment trust (“REIT”); (xiii) changes in the U.S. tax law and other state, federal or local laws, whether or not specific to REITs; (xiv) other risks inherent in the real estate business, including potential liability relating to environmental matters and illiquidity of real estate investments; and (xv) any additional factors included in this report, including in the section entitled “Risk Factors” in Item 1A of this Annual Report, as such risk factors may be amended, supplemented or superseded from time to time by other reports we file with the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”), including subsequent Annual Reports on Form 10-K and Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q.
Forward-looking statements speak only as of the date of this report. Except in the normal course of our public disclosure obligations, we expressly disclaim any obligation to release publicly any updates or revisions to any forward-looking statements to reflect any change in our expectations or any change in events, conditions or circumstances on which any statement is based.
TENANT INFORMATION
This Annual Report on Form 10-K includes information regarding certain of our tenants that lease properties from us, some of which are not subject to SEC reporting requirements. The Ensign Group, Inc. (“Ensign”) and The Pennant Group, Inc. (“Pennant”) are subject to the reporting requirements of the SEC and are required to file with the SEC annual reports containing audited financial information and quarterly reports containing unaudited financial information. You are encouraged to review Ensign and Pennant’s publicly available filings, which can be found at the SEC’s website at www.sec.gov.
The information related to our tenants contained or referred to in this Annual Report on Form 10-K was provided to us by such tenants or derived from SEC filings or other publicly available information. We have not verified this information through an independent investigation or otherwise. We have no reason to believe that this information is inaccurate in any material respect, but we cannot provide any assurance of its accuracy. We are providing this data for informational purposes only.

4

PART I
All references in this report to “CareTrust REIT,” the “Company,” “we,” “us” or “our” mean CareTrust REIT, Inc. together with its consolidated subsidiaries. Unless the context suggests otherwise, references to “CareTrust REIT, Inc.” mean the parent company without its subsidiaries.
ITEM  1.    Business
Our Company
CareTrust REIT is a self-administered, publicly-traded REIT engaged in the ownership, acquisition, financing, development and leasing of skilled nursing, seniors housing and other healthcare-related properties. As of December 31, 2023, CareTrust REIT owned, directly or through joint ventures, and leased to independent operators, 226 skilled nursing facilities (“SNFs”), multi-service campuses, assisted living facilities (“ALFs”) and independent living facilities (“ILFs”) (including facilities classified as held for sale) consisting of 23,928 operational beds and units located in 28 states with the highest concentration of properties by rental income located in California and Texas. As of December 31, 2023, we also had other real estate related investments consisting of one preferred equity investment, eight real estate secured loans receivable and one mezzanine loan receivable with a carrying value of $180.4 million.
The following table summarizes the Company’s acquisitions from January 1, 2023 through February 8, 2024 (dollars in thousands):
Type of Property
Purchase Price(1)
Initial Annual Cash Rent(2)
Number of Properties
Number of Beds/Units(3)
Skilled nursing(4)
$169,181 $13,764 10 1,256 
Multi-service campuses25,276 1,916 168 
Assisted living(5)
50,354 4,517 327 
Total$244,811 $20,197 16 1,751 
(1)Purchase price includes capitalized acquisition costs.
(2)Initial annual cash rent represents initial cash rent for the first twelve months excluding the impact of straight-line rent or rent abatement in the first one to three months, if applicable.
(3)The number of beds/units includes operating beds at acquisition date.
(4)Includes three SNFs held through joint ventures. See Note 3, Real Estate Investments, Net, and Note 11, Variable Interest Entities, for additional information.
(5)Includes one ALF held through a joint venture. See Note 14, Subsequent Events, for additional information.
The following table summarizes other real estate related investments by the Company from January 1, 2023 through February 8, 2024 (dollars in thousands):
Investment TypeInvestment
Annual Initial Interest Income(1)
Number of Properties
Number of Beds/Units(2)
Mortgage secured loans receivable$51,584 $4,806 772 
Mezzanine loans receivable52,165 7,119 N/AN/A
Preferred equity1,782 267 N/AN/A
Total$105,531 $12,192 772 
(1)Represents annualized acquisition-date interest income on any mortgage secured loans receivable and mezzanine loans, less subservicing fees, if applicable. For floating rate loans, interest income has been calculated using the benchmark rate floor.
(2)The number of beds/units includes operating beds at the investment date.
From January 1, 2023 through December 31, 2023, we sold one SNF and four ALFs for net proceeds of $18.3 million, resulting in a net gain on sale of property of $2.2 million. Subsequent to December 31, 2023, we closed on the sale of one SNF and one ALF with an aggregate carrying value of $1.0 million, which approximated the net sales proceeds received.
We generate revenues primarily by leasing healthcare-related properties to healthcare operators in triple-net lease arrangements, under which the tenant is solely responsible for the costs related to the property (including property taxes, insurance, maintenance and repair costs and capital expenditures, subject to certain exceptions in the case of properties leased to Ensign and Pennant, as defined below). From time to time, we also extend secured mortgage loans to healthcare operators, secured by healthcare-related properties, and secured mezzanine loans to healthcare operators, secured by membership interests in healthcare-related properties. From time to time, we also partner with third-party institutional investors to invest in healthcare
5

real estate through joint ventures. Pursuant to our joint ventures, we typically contribute 97.5% of the joint venture’s total investment amount and we receive 100% of the preferred equity interest in the joint venture in exchange for 95% of that total investment and a 50% common equity interest in the joint venture in exchange for the remaining 2.5% of that investment. Our joint venture partner contributes the remaining 2.5% of the joint venture’s total investment amount in exchange for a 50% common equity interest in the joint venture.
We conduct and manage our business as one operating segment for internal reporting and internal decision making purposes. We expect to grow our portfolio by pursuing opportunities to acquire additional properties that will be leased to a diverse group of local, regional and national healthcare providers, which may include new or existing skilled nursing operators, as well as seniors housing operators, behavioral health facilities and related businesses. We also anticipate diversifying our portfolio over time, including by acquiring properties in different geographic markets, and in different asset classes. In addition, we actively monitor the clinical, regulatory and financial operating results of our tenants, and work to identify opportunities within their operations and markets that could improve their operating results at our facilities. We communicate such observations to our tenants; however, we have no contractual obligation to do so. Moreover, our tenants have sole discretion with respect to the day-to-day operation of the facilities they lease from us, and how and whether to implement any observation we may share with them. We also actively monitor the overall occupancy, skilled mix, and other operating metrics of our tenants on at least a monthly basis. We have replaced tenants in the past, and may elect to replace tenants in the future, if they fail to meet the terms and conditions of their leases with us. In addition, we have, and may from time to time in the future, repurpose facilities for other uses, such as behavioral health. The replacement tenants may include tenants with whom we have had no prior landlord-tenant relationship as well as current tenants with whom we are comfortable expanding our relationships. We have also provided select tenants with strategic capital for facility upkeep and modernization, as well as short-term working capital loans when they are awaiting licensure and certification or conducting turnaround work in one or more of our properties, and we may continue to do so in the future. We have also assisted our tenants with transitioning to lower emissions technologies through our tenant incentive program, where we support efficiency projects through our dedicated tenant capital expenditure budget, providing sustainability incentives rent-free. In addition, we periodically reassess the investments we have made and the tenant relationships we have entered into, and have selectively disposed of facilities or investments, or terminated such relationships, and we expect to continue making such reassessments and, where appropriate, taking such actions.
We elected to be taxed as a REIT for U.S. federal income tax purposes beginning with our taxable year ended December 31, 2014. We believe that we have been organized and have operated, and we intend to continue to operate, in a manner to qualify for taxation as a REIT. We operate through an umbrella partnership, commonly referred to as an UPREIT structure, in which substantially all of our properties and assets are held through CTR Partnership, L.P. (the “Operating Partnership”). The Operating Partnership is managed by CareTrust REIT’s wholly owned subsidiary, CareTrust GP, LLC, which is the sole general partner of the Operating Partnership. To maintain REIT status, we must meet a number of organizational and operational requirements, including a requirement that we annually distribute to our stockholders at least 90% of our REIT taxable income, determined without regard to the dividends paid deduction and excluding any net capital gains.
Our Industry
The skilled nursing industry has evolved to meet the growing demand for post-acute and custodial healthcare services generated by an aging population, increasing life expectancies and the trend toward shifting of patient care to lower cost settings. We believe this evolution has led to a number of favorable improvements in the industry, as described below:
Shift of Patient Care to Lower Cost Alternatives.  The growth of the senior population in the United States continues to increase healthcare costs. In response, federal and state governments have adopted cost-containment measures that encourage the treatment of patients in more cost-effective settings such as SNFs, for which the staffing requirements and associated costs are often significantly lower than acute care hospitals, inpatient rehabilitation facilities and other post-acute care settings. As a result, SNFs are generally serving a larger population of higher-acuity patients than in the past. The same trend is impacting ALFs, which are now generally serving some patients who previously would have received services at SNFs.
Significant Acquisition and Consolidation Opportunities. The skilled nursing industry is large and highly fragmented, characterized predominantly by numerous local and regional providers. We believe this fragmentation provides significant acquisition and consolidation opportunities for us.
Widening Supply and Demand Imbalance. The number of SNFs has declined modestly over the past several years. According to the American Health Care Association, the nursing home industry was comprised of approximately 15,000 facilities as of July 2023, as compared with over 15,600 facilities as of July 2016. We expect that the supply/demand imbalance in the skilled nursing industry will increasingly favor skilled nursing and assisted living providers due to the shift of patient care to lower cost settings and an aging population.
6

Increased Demand Driven by Aging Populations. As seniors account for a higher percentage of the total U.S. population, we believe the overall demand for skilled nursing services will increase. At present, the primary market demographic for skilled nursing services is individuals age 75 and older. The U.S. Census estimates that there were over 58 million people in the United States in 2022 over the age of 65. The U.S. Census estimates this group to be one of the fastest growing segments of the United States population, projecting that it will almost double between 2020 and 2060. According to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, nursing home care facilities and continuing care retirement expenditures are projected to grow from approximately $193.6 billion in 2022, which includes federal expenditures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, to approximately $283.3 billion in 2031. Although seniors housing and skilled nursing occupancy rates have declined during the COVID-19 pandemic, we believe that these trends in population will support an increasing demand for services in the long-term, which in turn will likely support an increasing demand for the services provided within our properties.
While most factors described above indicate projected growth for our industry, labor shortages and proposed minimum staffing requirements from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (see “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations — Recent Developments — Regulatory Updates”) have led, and may continue to lead, to increased costs. Additionally, elevated interest rates and volatility in the capital markets have limited the availability of debt capital, increased our costs of capital to finance acquisitions and increased our borrowing costs. Further, our operators have experienced increased costs, liquidity constraints and financing difficulties due to the current market conditions, which could cause them to be unable or unwilling to make rental or interest payments when due. It is difficult to predict the duration of the effects of these economic and market conditions on the industry.
Portfolio Summary
We have a geographically diverse portfolio of properties, consisting of the following types as of December 31, 2023:
Skilled Nursing Facilities. SNFs are licensed healthcare facilities that provide restorative, rehabilitative and nursing care for people not requiring the more extensive and sophisticated treatment available at acute care hospitals. Treatment programs include physical, occupational, speech, respiratory and other therapies, including sub-acute clinical protocols such as wound care and intravenous drug treatment. Charges for these services are generally paid from a combination of government reimbursement and private sources. As of December 31, 2023, our portfolio included 151 SNFs (excluding 12 SNFs held for sale). Included in the 151 SNFs are three SNFs held through joint ventures and one SNF which is non-operational. In addition, our portfolio includes 25 SNFs located on campuses that also have ALFs or ILFs, which we refer to as multi-service campuses (see below under “Multi-Service Campuses”).
Assisted Living Facilities. ALFs are licensed healthcare facilities that provide personal care services, support and housing for those who need help with activities of daily living, such as bathing, eating and dressing, yet require limited medical care. The programs and services may include transportation, social activities, exercise and fitness programs, beauty or barber shop access, hobby and craft activities, community excursions, meals in a dining room setting and other activities sought by residents. These facilities are often apartment-like buildings with private residences ranging from single rooms to large apartments. Certain ALFs may offer higher levels of personal assistance for residents requiring memory care as a result of Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia. The level of personal assistance that may be provided at ALFs is based in part on state regulations. Since states often apply differing license classifications, and standards, regulatory requirements may differ significantly between states. As of December 31, 2023, our portfolio included 34 ALFs (excluding two ALFs classified as held for sale), some of which also contain independent living and memory care units. Included in the 34 ALFs are two facilities which are in the process of being repurposed and two facilities which are non-operational.
Independent Living Facilities. ILFs, also known as retirement communities or senior apartments, are not healthcare facilities and are not licensed to provide healthcare services to residents. The facilities typically consist of entirely self-contained apartments, complete with their own kitchens, baths and individual living spaces, as well as parking for tenant vehicles. They are most often rented unfurnished, and generally can be personalized by the tenants, and are typically occupied by an individual or a couple over the age of 55. These facilities offer various services and amenities such as laundry, housekeeping, dining options/meal plans, exercise and wellness programs, transportation, social, cultural and recreational activities, on site security and emergency response programs. As of December 31, 2023, our portfolio included two ILFs.
Multi-Service Campuses. Multi-service campuses generally include some combination of co-located SNFs, ALFs, ILFs, and/or memory care units all housed at a single location and operated as a continuum of care. We also refer to continuing care retirement communities as multi-service campuses. These facilities are often marketed as an opportunity for residents to “age in place,” and tend to attract couples where the individuals may require or benefit
7

from differing levels of care. As of December 31, 2023, our portfolio included 25 facilities that we classify as multi-service campuses.
Our portfolio of SNFs, ALFs, ILFs and multi-service campuses is broadly diversified by geographic location throughout the United States, with concentrations in California and Texas based on rental income.
Significant Master Leases
As of December 31, 2023, we leased 94 facilities to subsidiaries of Ensign, which have a total of 9,776 operational beds. We have leased a significant number of our properties to subsidiaries of Ensign on a triple-net basis under eight long-term leases, each with its own pool of properties, that have varying maturities and diversity in both property type and geography (each an “Ensign Master Lease” and collectively, the “Ensign Master Leases”). The Ensign Master Leases provide for initial terms in excess of ten years with staggered expiration dates and no purchase options. At Ensign’s option, each Ensign Master Lease may be extended for up to three five-year renewal terms beyond the initial term and, if elected, the renewal will be effective for all of the leased property then subject to the applicable Ensign Master Lease. During the year ended December 31, 2020, the Company acquired four additional facilities, which have a total of 620 operational beds, leased to subsidiaries of Ensign on a triple-net basis under two separate master lease agreements, each of which contains a purchase option. As of December 31, 2023, annualized contractual rental income from the Ensign Master Leases was $63.8 million, and annualized contractual rental income from all Ensign leases was $67.8 million, representing 31% and 33% of total annualized contractual rental income, respectively. Rent is escalated annually in June under the Ensign Master Leases, and in December for the four additional facilities leased to Ensign, by an amount equal to the product of (1) the lesser of the percentage change in the Consumer Price Index (“CPI”) (but not less than zero) or 2.5%, and (2) the prior year’s rent. The Ensign Master Leases are guaranteed by Ensign and contain cross-default provisions. The obligations under the lease agreements for the four additional facilities are guaranteed by Ensign but do not contain cross-default provisions with the Ensign Master Leases.
As of December 31, 2023, 15 of our properties were leased to subsidiaries of Priority Management Group (“PMG”) on a triple-net basis under one long-term lease (the “PMG Master Lease”), and have a total of 2,144 operational beds. The PMG Master Lease commenced on December 1, 2016, and provides for an initial term of fifteen years, with two five-year renewal options. As of December 31, 2023, annualized contractual rental income from the PMG Master Lease was $31.2 million, representing 15% of total annualized contractual rental income.
See “Risk Factors — Risks Related to Our Business and Operations — We are dependent on the healthcare operators that lease our properties to successfully operate their business and make contractual lease payments, and an event that materially and adversely affects their business, financial position or results of operations could materially and adversely affect our business, financial position or results of operations.”
We monitor the creditworthiness of our tenants by evaluating the ability of the tenants to meet their lease obligations to us based on the tenants’ financial performance, including the evaluation of any guarantees of tenant lease obligations. The primary basis for our evaluation of the credit quality of our tenants (and more specifically the tenants’ ability to pay their rent obligations to us) is the tenants’ lease coverage ratios. These coverage ratios compare (i) earnings before interest, income taxes, depreciation, amortization and rent (“EBITDAR”) to rent coverage, and (ii) earnings before interest, income taxes, depreciation, amortization, rent and management fees (“EBITDARM”) to rent coverage. We utilize a standardized 5% management fee when we calculate lease coverage ratios. We obtain various financial and operational information from our tenants each month. We regularly review this information to calculate the above-described coverage metrics, to identify operational trends, to assess the operational and financial impact of the changes in the broader industry environment (including the potential impact of government reimbursement and regulatory changes), and to evaluate the management and performance of the tenants’ operations. These metrics help us identify potential areas of concern relative to our tenants’ credit quality and ultimately the tenants’ ability to generate sufficient liquidity to meet their ongoing obligations, including their obligations to continue paying contractual rents due to us and satisfying other financial obligations to third parties, as prescribed by our triple-net leases.
8

Properties by Type:
The following table displays the geographic distribution of our facilities, excluding those held for sale, and the related number of beds and units available for occupancy by property type, as of December 31, 2023. The number of beds or units that are operational may be less than the official licensed capacity.
 TotalSNFsMulti-Service Campuses
ALFs and ILFs
StateProperties
Beds/Units
Facilities
Beds
Campuses
Beds/Units
Facilities
Beds/Units
CA(1)
46 5,676 32 3,712 1,527 437 
TX45 5,871 40 5,123 536 212 
ID17 1,474 16 1,405 69 — — 
UT13 1,374 913 272 189 
AZ11 1,340 971 — — 369 
IL11 1,053 642 275 136 
WA10 936 839 — — 97 
LA1,164 949 215 — — 
CO785 517 — — 268 
OH609 226 317 66 
IA354 185 169 — — 
MI255 — — — — 255 
NE366 220 146 — — 
MT260 260 — — — — 
NV304 92 — — 212 
MN62 — — — — 62 
NC105 — — — — 105 
NJ98 — — — — 98 
WI89 — — — — 89 
FL80 — — — — 80 
GA148 148 — — — — 
KS102 102 — — — — 
MD120 — — — — 120 
ND83 83 — — — — 
NM124 124 — — — — 
OR53 53 — — — — 
SD81 81 — — — — 
WV67 — — 67 — — 
Total212 23,033 151 16,645 25 3,593 36 2,795 
(1)Includes three SNFs with 385 beds held in consolidated joint ventures.
 
        














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Occupancy by Property Type:
The following table displays occupancy by property type for each of the years ended December 31, 2023 and 2022. Percentage occupancy in the below table is computed by dividing the average daily number of beds occupied by the total number of beds available for use during the periods indicated (beds are included in the computation following the date of acquisition, or through the date of disposition, only).
 Year Ended December 31,
Property Type
2023(1)
2022(2)
Facilities Leased to Tenants: (3)
  
     SNFs75 %73 %
     Multi-Service Campuses75 %71 %
     ALFs and ILFs75 %74 %
 
(1)    Occupancy data excludes two facilities which are in the process of being repurposed, one non-operational SNF and two non-operational ALFs.
(2)    Occupancy data excludes two facilities which are in the process of being repurposed and two non-operational ALFs.
(3)    Occupancy data derived solely from information provided by our tenants without independent verification by us. The leased facility financial performance data is presented one quarter in arrears.
 
Property Type — Rental Income:
The following tables display the annual rental income for each property type leased to third-party tenants for the years ended December 31, 2023 and 2022 and total beds/units for each property type as of December 31, 2023 and 2022.
 For the Year Ended December 31, 2023
As of December 31, 2023
Property TypeRental Income
(in thousands)
Percent
of Total 
Total Beds/
Units 
SNFs(1)
$145,589 73 %17,366 
Multi-Service Campuses35,779 18 %3,593 
ALFs and ILFs17,231 %2,969 
Total$198,599 100 %23,928 
(1)Includes three SNFs held in consolidated joint ventures.
 For the Year Ended December 31, 2022
As of December 31, 2022
Property TypeRental Income
(in thousands)
Percent
of Total 
Total Beds/
Units 
SNFs$135,701 72 %16,193 
Multi-Service Campuses33,149 18 %3,463 
ALFs and ILFs18,656 10 %3,175 
Total$187,506 100 %22,831 






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Geographic Concentration — Rental Income:
The following table displays the geographic distribution of annual rental income for properties leased to third-party tenants for the years ended December 31, 2023 and 2022 (dollars in thousands).
 For the Year Ended December 31, 2023For the Year Ended December 31, 2022
State 
Rental Income(1)
Percent of Total 
Rental Income
Percent of Total 
CA$58,838 30 %$51,553 27 %
TX43,768 22 %41,021 22 %
LA17,856 %17,092 %
ID14,943 %14,446 %
AZ13,293 %12,968 %
UT7,823 %7,612 %
IL6,975 %6,074 %
CO5,960 %5,796 %
WA4,893 %4,793 %
IA4,584 %5,318 %
OH4,141 %4,128 %
MT2,254 %2,188 %
NV2,231 %2,177 %
MI2,069 %3,003 %
GA1,454 %944 %
MN1,100 %1,064 %
NM1,083 %937 %
NE1,020 %995 %
SD972 *944 *
WV776 *751 *
WI556 *520 *
KS511 *— *
NC505 *1,172 %
ND475 *461 *
OR423 *411 *
MD71 *247 *
FL25 *222 *
VA— *539 *
IN— *130 *
NJ— *— *
Total$198,599 100 %$187,506 100 %
Represents less than 1%
(1)    Includes three SNFs held in consolidated joint ventures.
Investment and Financing Policies
Our investment objectives are to increase cash flow, provide quarterly cash dividends, maximize the value of our properties and acquire properties with cash flow growth potential. We intend to invest primarily in SNFs and seniors housing, including ALFs and ILFs. We are expanding our investments into behavioral health facilities and we may determine in the future to expand our investments to include medical office buildings, long-term acute care hospitals and inpatient rehabilitation facilities. We may utilize the RIDEA structure for future acquisitions (see “Business Strategies - Diversify Asset Portfolio” below). Our properties are located in 28 states and we intend to continue to acquire properties in other states throughout the United States. Although our portfolio currently consists primarily of owned real property, we have also invested in joint ventures through which we own properties, as well as mortgage loans receivable and mezzanine loans. We expect that our future investments may also include first mortgages, mezzanine debt and other securities issued by, or joint ventures with, REITs or other entities that own real estate consistent with our investment objectives.
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Our Competitive Strengths
We believe that our ability to acquire, integrate and improve facilities is a direct result of the following key competitive strengths:
Geographically Diverse Property Portfolio. Our properties are located in 28 different states, with concentrations in California and Texas based on rental income. The properties in any one state do not account for more than 30% of our total rental income as of December 31, 2023. We believe this geographic diversification will limit the effect of changes in any one market on our overall performance.
Long-Term, Triple-Net Lease Structure. All of our owned properties (including properties we own through joint ventures, excluding one SNF which is non-operational), are leased to our tenants under long-term, triple-net leases, pursuant to which the operators are responsible for all facility maintenance and repair, insurance required in connection with the leased properties and the business conducted on the leased properties, taxes levied on or with respect to the leased properties and all utilities and other services necessary or appropriate for the leased properties and the business conducted on the leased properties.
Financially Secure Primary Tenant. Ensign is an established provider of healthcare services with strong financial performance and accounted for 33% of total annualized contractual rental income as of December 31, 2023. Ensign is subject to the reporting requirements of the SEC and is required to file with the SEC annual reports containing audited financial information and quarterly reports containing unaudited financial information. Ensign’s publicly available filings can be found at the SEC’s website at www.sec.gov.
Investments in Joint Ventures. From time to time, we partner with third-party institutional investors to invest in healthcare real estate through joint ventures. Pursuant to our joint ventures, we typically contribute 97.5% of the joint venture’s total investment amount and we receive 100% of the preferred equity interest in the joint venture in exchange for 95% of that total investment and a 50% common equity interest in the joint venture in exchange for the remaining 2.5% of that investment. Our joint venture partner contributes the remaining 2.5% of the joint venture’s total investment amount in exchange for a 50% common ownership interest in the joint venture. These are investments that we typically consolidate as they are variable interest entities and as we are considered to be the primary beneficiary and have the power to direct the activities that most significantly impact the entity’s economic performance and have the obligation to absorb losses of, or the right to receive benefits from, the entity that could potentially be significant.
Lower Cost of Capital. Our ability to access the capital markets provides us greater flexibility to manage our cost of capital and also offers us the ability to fund future acquisitions through the issuance of additional shares, including under our ATM Program (as defined below). During the year ended December 31, 2023, we sold approximately 30.9 million shares at an average gross price of $20.86 for gross proceeds of approximately $643.8 million under our ATM Program to fund future acquisitions.
Ability to Identify Talented Operators. As a result of our management team’s operating experience and network of relationships and insight, we believe that we are able to identify and pursue working relationships with qualified local, regional and national healthcare providers and seniors housing operators. We expect to continue our disciplined focus on pursuing investment opportunities, primarily with respect to stabilized assets but also some strategic investments in new and/or improving properties, while seeking dedicated and engaged operators who possess local market knowledge, have solid operating records and emphasize quality services and outcomes. We intend to support these operators by providing strategic capital for facility acquisition, upkeep and modernization. Our management team’s experience gives us a key competitive advantage in objectively evaluating an operator’s financial position, care and service programs, operating efficiencies and likely business prospects.
Experienced Management Team. David M. Sedgwick was appointed as our Chief Executive Officer effective January 1, 2022. At the time of his appointment, Mr. Sedgwick was serving as our President, a role he had filled since February 2021, and he continues to hold that title. He previously served as our Chief Operating Officer from August 2018 through 2021, and as our Vice President-Operations from CareTrust’s launch as an independent public company in 2014 to 2018. Mr. Sedgwick has more than 23 years of experience in the skilled nursing and seniors housing industry. Mr. Sedgwick’s President, Chief Operating Officer and Vice President duties regularly involved him in matters related to new investments, asset management, tenant relations, portfolio management, portfolio optimization, investor relations and capital markets activities for the Company. Prior to joining CareTrust, Mr. Sedgwick served as the Chief Human Capital Officer and President of Facility Services at Ensign. Mr. Sedgwick has been a licensed nursing home administrator since 2001.
Our Chief Financial Officer, William M. Wagner, has more than 30 years of accounting and finance experience, primarily in real estate, including more than 19 years of experience working extensively for REITs. Most notably, he worked for both Nationwide Health Properties, Inc., a healthcare REIT, and Sunstone Hotel Investors, Inc., a lodging REIT, serving as Senior Vice President and Chief Accounting Officer of each company prior to joining us as our Chief Financial Officer.
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James B. Callister was appointed as our Executive Vice President effective July 2022 and Chief Investment Officer effective December 31, 2022. Mr. Callister continues to serve as Secretary, and previously served as General Counsel from February 2021 to July 2022. Prior to joining the Company, Mr. Callister worked as a real estate attorney and a partner at the law firm of Sherry Meyerhoff Hanson & Crance LLP and, before that, at the law firm of O’Melveny & Myers LLP.
Flexible UPREIT Structure. We operate through an umbrella partnership, commonly referred to as an UPREIT structure, in which substantially all of our properties and assets are held through the Operating Partnership. Conducting business through the Operating Partnership allows us flexibility in the manner in which we structure the acquisition of properties. In particular, an UPREIT structure enables us to acquire additional properties from sellers in exchange for limited partnership units, which provides property owners the opportunity to defer the tax consequences that would otherwise arise from a sale of their real properties and other assets to us. As a result, this structure allows us to acquire assets in a more efficient manner and may allow us to acquire assets that the owner would otherwise be unwilling to sell because of tax considerations.
Business Strategies
Our primary goal is to create long-term stockholder value through the payment of consistent cash dividends and the growth of our asset base. To achieve this goal, we intend to pursue a business strategy focused on opportunistic acquisitions and property diversification. We also intend to further develop our relationships with tenants and healthcare providers with a goal to progressively expand the mixture of tenants managing and operating our properties.
The key components of our business strategies include:
Diversify Asset Portfolio. We diversify through the acquisition of new and existing facilities from third parties and the expansion and upgrade of current facilities and strategically investing in new developments with options to acquire the developments at stabilization. We employ what we believe to be a disciplined, opportunistic acquisition strategy with a focus on the acquisition of SNFs, ALFs and ILFs. We are expanding our investments into behavioral health facilities and we may determine in the future to expand our investments to include medical office buildings, long-term acute care hospitals and inpatient rehabilitation facilities. As we acquire, or invest in, additional properties, we expect to further diversify by geography, asset class and tenant within the healthcare and healthcare-related sectors. We may invest in seniors housing managed communities operated by third-party property managers pursuant to property management agreements utilizing the structure proposed in the REIT Investment Diversification and Empowerment Act of 2007, which is commonly referred to as a “RIDEA” structure. The seniors housing managed communities structure would give us direct exposure to the risks and benefits of the operations of the communities. The third-party property managers would manage our communities in exchange for the receipt of a management fee, and as such, we would not be directly exposed to the credit risk of the property managers in the same manner or to the same extent as our triple-net tenants. Under this management structure, we would be required to rely on a third-party operator to hire and train all facility employees, enter into third-party contracts for the benefit of the facility, comply with laws, and provide resident care and we would be substantially limited in our ability to control or influence day-to-day operators.
Maintain Balance Sheet Strength and Liquidity. We maintain a capital structure that provides the resources and flexibility to support the growth of our business. We intend to maintain a mix of credit facility debt, unsecured debt and possibly secured mortgage debt, which, together with our anticipated ability to complete future equity financings, including issuances of our common stock via registered public offerings or under an at-the-market equity program, we expect will fund the growth of our property portfolio.
Develop New Tenant Relationships. We cultivate new relationships with tenants and healthcare providers in order to expand the mix of tenants operating our properties. We expect that this objective will be achieved over time as part of our overall strategy to acquire new properties and further diversify our portfolio of healthcare properties.
Provide Capital to Underserved Operators. We believe there is a significant opportunity to be a capital source to healthcare operators, through the acquisition and leasing of healthcare properties to them that are consistent with our investment and financing strategy at appropriate risk-adjusted rates of return, which, due to size and other considerations, are not a focus for larger healthcare REITs. We pursue acquisitions and strategic opportunities that meet our investing and financing strategy and that are attractively priced, including funding development of properties through preferred equity or construction loans and thereafter entering into sale and leaseback arrangements with such developers as well as other secured term financing and mezzanine lending. We utilize our management team’s operating experience, network of relationships and industry insight to identify both large and small quality operators in need of capital funding for future growth. In appropriate circumstances, we may negotiate with operators to acquire individual healthcare properties from those operators and then lease those properties back to the operators pursuant to long-term triple-net leases.
Fund Strategic Capital Improvements. We support operators by providing capital to them for a variety of purposes, including capital expenditures and facility modernization. We expect to structure these investments as either lease amendments that produce additional rents or as loans that are repaid by operators during the applicable lease term. We have also assisted our
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tenants with transitioning to lower emissions technologies through our tenant incentive program, where we support efficiency projects through our dedicated tenant capital expenditure budget, providing sustainability incentives rent-free.
Pursue Strategic Development Opportunities. We work with operators and developers to identify strategic development opportunities. These opportunities may involve replacing or renovating facilities that may have become less competitive. We also identify new development opportunities that present attractive risk-adjusted returns. We may provide funding to the developer of a property in conjunction with entering into a sale leaseback transaction or an option to enter into a sale leaseback transaction for the property.
Competition
We compete for real property investments with other REITs, investment companies, private equity and hedge fund investors, sovereign funds, pension funds, healthcare operators, lenders and other institutional investors. Some of these competitors are significantly larger and have greater financial resources and lower costs of capital than us. Increased competition will make it more challenging to identify and successfully capitalize on acquisition opportunities that meet our investment objectives. Our ability to compete is also impacted by national and local economic trends, availability of investment alternatives, availability and cost of capital, construction and renovation costs, existing laws and regulations, new legislation and population trends.
In addition, revenues from our properties are dependent on the ability of our tenants and operators to compete with other healthcare operators. Healthcare operators compete on a local and regional basis for residents and patients and their ability to successfully attract and retain residents and patients depends on key factors such as the number of facilities in the local market, the types of services available, the quality of care, reputation, age and appearance of each facility and the cost of care in each locality. Private, federal and state payment programs and the effect of other laws and regulations may also have a significant impact on the ability of our tenants and operators to compete successfully for residents and patients at the properties.
Sustainability and Corporate Social Responsibility
As triple-net landlords, our core responsibility lies in tracking, educating, and incentivizing our tenants, who hold decision-making authority at the property level, to make sustainable and financially prudent business decisions. We believe that environmental sustainability is an important part of our commitment to helping people live and age well in those communities. We are committed to sustainable practices in our corporate offices and to providing tenant education, support and incentives to make sustainable improvements at our net-leased properties.
In 2023, we published our third annual Corporate Sustainability Report (our “ESG Report”) as part of our ongoing commitment to provide regular reporting on our environmental, social and governance (“ESG”) priorities. Our ESG Report outlines our high priority ESG initiatives and goals for our company and our property portfolio. In our 2022 ESG Report, we included a Global Reporting Initiative (“GRI”) Index in reference to the GRI Standards as well as a Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures (“TCFD”) index to further align with applicable global standards for sustainability reporting.
Beginning in 2020, with the assistance of an ESG consultant, we designed a monitoring plan to collect key environmental data from a pilot group of 50 of our net-leased properties. The plan’s objective was to benchmark energy and water usage and the impact of our facilities on greenhouse gas emissions and climate change. During 2021, we implemented the plan’s monitoring systems and began collecting data for this pilot group of 50 properties, increasing to 100 properties by the end of 2023. During 2023, we added waste tracking for the 100 properties. We expect the data to help us identify the most promising opportunities for improvement in our portfolio, set informed ESG goals and measure progress over time. In addition, as a landlord and capital supplier to a key segment of the healthcare industry, we intend to seek further opportunities to encourage and incentivize fair and healthy work environments for healthcare workers and suitable living conditions for patients and residents, and to promote diversity, inclusion and the ethical treatment of employees, residents, patients and others wherever our activities and influence can be felt.
During 2023, we partnered with a third party to conduct a portfolio level physical climate risk assessment on all standing assets. Physical risks assessed were heat, flood, precipitation, fire, and drought. In the overall portfolio physical climate risk assessment, four risk categories were defined with a portfolio risk percentage provided for each category, addressing each physical risk. The climate risk assessment found that the highest risk for our portfolio was heat caused by higher temperatures.
During 2023, we distributed a Tenant Climate Risk-Opportunity Survey and received a 50% response rate. This survey helped contribute to ESG dialogue with tenants and overall improved our risk management strategy. The survey found transitional risks for our tenants due to transitioning to a low carbon economy including increased material costs, volatility in utilities’ pricing, market preference for greener buildings, and higher insurance premiums.
Also in 2020, we published our Tenant Code of Conduct & Corporate Responsibility (our “Tenant ESG Program”). The Tenant ESG Program provides our eligible triple-net tenants with monetary inducements to make sustainable improvements to our properties. Incentive options include a wide variety of opportunities for tenants to upgrade everything from energy and
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environmental systems to water-saving landscaping and more. Our board of directors has authorized annual allocations of up to $500,000 to fund the Tenant ESG Program. As disclosed in our 2022 ESG Report, we tracked $567,304 in environmental improvements at our properties from September 2022 to September 2023.
The foregoing principles and additional ESG initiatives are reflected in our Environmental, Social and Governance policy adopted on October 29, 2021, and previously published Policy on Human Capital, Policy on Human Rights and Responsibilities, Policy on Environmental Sustainability and our proprietary Tenant ESG Program. All of these policies are located on the Investor Relations section of our website at www.caretrustreit.com. The information found on, or otherwise accessible through, our website is not incorporated by reference into, nor does it form a part of, this report or any other document that we file with the SEC.
Governance
Our corporate governance structure was carefully crafted to align with the interests of our investors and other stakeholders with a core leadership team that has over 65 years of collective experience as operators and investors. The members of our board of directors each bring deep expertise in healthcare, real estate, investing, accounting, and/or business development. In this oversight role, our board of directors serves as the ultimate decision-making body of our company, except for those matters reserved to or shared with our stockholders.
Human Capital Resources
Our employees are the heart of our company. Our Policy on Human Capital reflects our commitment to the dignity and rights of all people, especially our employees and others whose professional lives may be impacted by our properties and business activities. It represents a critical commitment to, and investment in, the current and long-term health and well-being of our organization and its people. We believe our success depends on our ability to attract, develop and retain key personnel.
During 2023, we conducted an employee satisfaction survey with a 100% response rate and an overall satisfaction rate of 86%. The survey found that 70% or more employees agree that our comprehensive benefits package is very competitive and a strong point of working for CareTrust, employees are highly committed to their future at CareTrust, and that CareTrust has a culture that values inclusivity.
CareTrust invests significant time and resources in supporting and developing our employees and creating a desirable workplace. Our core philosophies and policies in this regard include:
Compensation and Benefits. The skills, experience and industry knowledge of key employees significantly benefit our performance. We believe we offer competitive compensation (including salary, incentive bonus and equity) and benefits packages (including a 401(k) plan with a fixed employer contribution, Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs), employer-funded employee assistance program (EAP), a generous vacation, holiday and personal time off policy, and an array of voluntary benefits options and other benefits for employees and their families). Our compensation program is designed to attract and reward talented individuals who possess the skills necessary to support our business objectives, assist in the achievement of our strategic goals and create long-term value for our stockholders.
As of December 31, 2023, we employed 17 full-time employees (including our executive officers), none of whom is subject to a collective bargaining agreement. Our comprehensive benefits package includes flexible work hours, the option to work remotely, and company workspaces/amenities.
Retention and Turnover. Recruiting, hiring, training and retaining excellent employees is a high priority for us. These activities carry real and substantial costs, which we regard as a meaningful investment in our workforce and our company. We believe that employee turnover is costly in direct and indirect ways, and we are committed to employee retention and satisfaction. During the year ended December 31, 2023, we experienced turnover of three full-time employees, excluding our executive officers.
Training and Education. CareTrust’s culture values continuous learning, improvement and professional development. This helps our employees to keep their skills current and to adapt to new responsibilities and emerging market needs. CareTrust provides financial support for professional associate dues and memberships, continuing education credits, and fees and travel expenses to attend relevant conferences and seminars.
Government Regulation, Licensing and Enforcement
Overview
As operators of healthcare facilities, tenants of our healthcare properties are typically subject to extensive and complex federal, state and local healthcare laws and regulations relating to fraud and abuse practices, government reimbursement, licensure and certificate of need and similar laws governing the operation of healthcare facilities, and we expect that the healthcare industry, in general, will continue to face significant regulation and pressure in the areas of fraud, waste and abuse,
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cost control, healthcare management and provision of services, among others. These regulations are wide-ranging and can subject our tenants to civil, criminal and administrative sanctions. Affected tenants may find it increasingly difficult and costly to comply with this complex and evolving regulatory environment because of a relative lack of guidance in many areas as certain of our healthcare properties are subject to oversight from several government agencies and the legal requirements often vary from one jurisdiction to another. Changes in laws and regulations and reimbursement enforcement activity and regulatory non-compliance by our tenants could have a significant effect on their operations and financial condition, which in turn may adversely affect us, as detailed below and set forth under “Risk Factors — Risks Related to Our Business and Operations.”
The following is a discussion of certain laws and regulations generally applicable to our tenants (as operators of our healthcare facilities) and, in certain cases, to us.
Enforcement
There are various extremely complex federal and state laws and regulations governing healthcare providers’ relationships and arrangements and prohibiting fraudulent and abusive practices by such providers. These laws include, but are not limited to, (i) federal and state false claims acts, which, among other things, prohibit providers from filing false claims or making false statements to receive payment from Medicare, Medicaid or other federal or state healthcare programs, (ii) federal and state anti-kickback and fee-splitting statutes, including the Medicare and Medicaid anti-kickback statute, which prohibit the payment or receipt of remuneration to induce referrals or recommendations of healthcare items or services, (iii) federal and state provider self-referral laws (including the federal law commonly referred to as the “Stark Law”), which generally prohibit referrals by physicians and in some cases other providers to entities with which the physician or an immediate family member has a financial relationship, and (iv) the federal Civil Monetary Penalties Law, which prohibits, among other things, the knowing presentation of a false or fraudulent claim for certain healthcare services. Violations of healthcare fraud and abuse laws carry civil, criminal and administrative sanctions, including punitive sanctions, monetary penalties, imprisonment, denial of Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement and potential exclusion from Medicare, Medicaid or other federal or state healthcare programs. These laws are enforced by a variety of federal, state and local agencies and can also be enforced by private litigants through, among other things, federal and state false claims acts, which allow private litigants to bring qui tam or “whistleblower” actions. Ensign and our other tenants are (and many of our future tenants are expected to be) subject to these laws, and some of them may in the future become the subject of governmental enforcement actions if they fail to comply with applicable laws.
State and Federal “Fraud and Abuse” Laws and Regulations. The Medicare and Medicaid anti-fraud and abuse amendments to the Social Security Act (the “Anti-Kickback Law”) make it a felony, subject to certain exceptions, for any person to engage in illegal remuneration arrangements with vendors, physicians and other health care providers for the referral of Medicare beneficiaries or Medicaid recipients. When a violation occurs, the government may proceed criminally or civilly. If the government proceeds criminally, a violation is a felony and may result in imprisonment for up to five years, fines of up to $25,000 and mandatory exclusion from participation in all federal health care programs. If the government proceeds civilly, it may impose a civil monetary penalty of $50,000 per violation and an assessment of not more than three times the total amount of remuneration involved, and it may exclude the parties from participation in all federal health care programs. Violations of the Anti-Kickback Statute also serve as a basis for federal False Claims Act cases. Many states have enacted laws similar to, and in some cases broader than, the Anti-Kickback Law.
The scope of prohibited payments in the Anti-Kickback Law is broad. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) has promulgated regulations which describe certain “safe harbor” arrangements that will not be deemed to constitute violations of the Anti-Kickback Law. An arrangement that fits squarely into a safe harbor is immune from prosecution under the Anti-Kickback Statute. The safe harbors described in the regulations are narrow and do not cover a wide range of economic relationships which many SNFs, physicians and other health care providers consider to be legitimate business arrangements not prohibited by the statute. Because the regulations describe safe harbors and do not purport to describe comprehensively all lawful and unlawful economic arrangements or other relationships between health care providers and referral sources, health care providers entering into these arrangements or relationships may be required to alter them in order to ensure compliance with the Anti-Kickback Law and may be subject to significant liability should an arrangement that does not fully satisfy a safe harbor be determined to be illegal. On November 20, 2020, HHS promulgated significant new Anti-Kickback Law regulations, including changes to existing safe harbors and the creation of new safe harbors, in an effort to reduce regulatory burden and incentivize coordinated care, including value-based arrangements.
The False Claims Act provides that any person who “knowingly presents, or causes to be presented” a “false or fraudulent claim for payment or approval” to the U.S. government, or its agents and contractors, is liable for a civil penalty ranging from $5,500 to $11,000 per claim, plus three times the amount of damages sustained by the government. Under the False Claims Act’s so-called “reverse false claims,” liability also could arise for “using” a false record or statement to “conceal,” “avoid” or “decrease” an “obligation” (which can include the retention of an overpayment) “to pay or transmit money or property to the government.” The False Claims Act also empowers and
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provides incentives to private citizens (commonly referred to as qui tam relator or whistleblower) to file suit on the government’s behalf. The qui tam relator’s share of the recovery can be between 15% and 25% in cases in which the government intervenes, and 25% to 30% in cases in which the government does not intervene. Notably, the Affordable Care Act amended certain jurisdictional bars to the False Claims Act, effectively narrowing the “public disclosure bar” (which generally requires that a whistleblower suit not be based on publicly disclosed information) and expanding the “original source” exception (which generally permits a whistleblower suit based on publicly disclosed information if the whistleblower is the original source of that publicly disclosed information), thus potentially broadening the field of potential whistleblowers.
Restrictions on Referrals. The federal physician self-referral law and its implementing regulations (commonly referred to as the “Stark Law”) prohibits providers of “designated health services” from billing Medicare or Medicaid if the patient is referred by a physician (or his/her immediate family member) with a financial relationship with the entity, unless an exception applies. “Designated health services” include clinical laboratory services; physical therapy services; occupational therapy services; outpatient speech-language pathology; radiology services, including magnetic resonance imaging, computerized axial tomography scans, and ultrasound services; radiation therapy services and supplies; durable medical equipment and services; parenteral and enteral nutrients, equipment and services; prosthetics, orthotics, and prosthetic devices and supplies; home health services; outpatient prescription drugs; and inpatient and outpatient hospital services. The Stark Law also prohibits the furnishing entity from submitting a claim for reimbursement or otherwise billing Medicare or any other person or entity for improperly referred designated health services. Many designated health services are commonly provided in SNFs and ALFs. The new regulations promulgated by HHS, discussed above in “State and Federal ‘Fraud and Abuse’ Laws and Regulations”, include significant changes to the Stark Law regulations, including (i) new exceptions designed to enable more value-based arrangements, (ii) a modification to the existing exception for electronic health records items and services, and (iii) new exceptions for limited remuneration to physicians and for cybersecurity technology and related services.
An entity that submits a claim for reimbursement in violation of the Stark Law must refund any amounts collected and may be: (1) subject to a civil penalty of up to $15,000 for each self-referred service; and (2) excluded from participation in federal health care programs. In addition, a physician or entity that has participated in a “scheme” to circumvent the operation of the Stark Law is subject to a civil penalty of up to $100,000 and possible exclusion from participation in federal health care programs.
Reimbursement
Sources of revenue for our tenants include (and for our future tenants is expected to include), among other sources, governmental healthcare programs, such as the federal Medicare program and state Medicaid programs, and non-governmental payors, such as insurance carriers and health maintenance organizations. As federal and state governments focus on healthcare reform initiatives, and as the federal government and many states face significant budget deficits, efforts to reduce costs by these payors will likely continue, which may result in reduced or slower growth in reimbursement for certain services provided by Ensign and our other tenants. Federal and state authorities are likely to continue to implement new and modified reimbursement methodologies, including value-based methodologies, that could have a negative impact on our tenants. Such changes to reimbursement methodologies could have a material impact on our tenants and we cannot provide assurances that the current revenue levels will be maintained under any future reimbursement arrangements. In addition, the impact of other health care reform efforts, such as “Medicare for all” or the provision of a new Medicare-like public option for consumers to receive health insurance, are impossible to predict.
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, as amended by the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 (collectively, the “Affordable Care Act”) serves as the primary vehicle for comprehensive healthcare reform in the United States. Efforts initiated by the previous administration and certain members of Congress to repeal or make significant changes to the Affordable Care Act, its implementation and/or its interpretation including the successful repeal of the penalty associated with the individual mandate of the Affordable Care Act, continue to cast uncertainty on the future of the Affordable Care Act. For example, on December 14, 2018, a U.S. District Court in Texas ruled the Affordable Care Act unconstitutional in its entirety. This decision was appealed, and on December 18, 2019, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate was unconstitutional but remanded the case for further analysis. The decision was appealed, and on June 17, 2021, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that the plaintiffs lacked standing to challenge the Affordable Care Act’s minimum essential coverage provision. These types of challenges may impact the number of individuals that elect to obtain public or private health insurance or the scope of such coverage, if purchased.
Given the divided nature of Congress, it is unclear whether Congress will successfully expand health insurance coverage and assess alternative health care delivery and payment systems. The Republican Party currently controls the United States House of Representatives (by a slim majority) and the Democratic Party currently controls the Senate (by a slim majority). Due
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to this, healthcare reform legislation would likely require at least some support from both Republican and Democratic lawmakers to become law and it is uncertain whether any healthcare reform legislation will ultimately become law. We cannot predict the ultimate content, timing or effect of any healthcare reform legislation or the impact of potential legislation on our business. If our tenants’ residents do not have insurance, it could adversely impact the tenants’ ability to satisfy their obligations to us. Expansion of health insurance coverage to more citizens could have a positive financial impact on our tenants and their ability to satisfy their obligations to us.
Other legislative changes have been proposed and adopted since the Affordable Care Act was enacted, which also may impact our business. For instance, CMS is required to measure, track, and publish readmission rates of SNFs and to implement a value-based purchasing program for SNFs (the “SNF VBP Program”). The SNF VBP Program increases Medicare reimbursement rates for SNFs that achieve certain levels of quality performance measures developed by CMS, relative to other facilities. The value-based payments authorized by the SNF VBP Program are funded by reducing Medicare payment for all SNFs by 2% and redistributing up to 70% of those funds to high-performing SNFs. However, there is no assurance that payments made by CMS as a result of the SNF VBP Program will be sufficient to cover a facility’s costs. If Medicare reimbursement provided to our healthcare tenants is reduced under the SNF VBP Program, that reduction may have an adverse impact on the ability of our tenants to meet their obligations to us.
See “Risk Factors — Risks Related to Our Business and Operations — Healthcare reform legislation impacts cannot accurately be predicted and could adversely affect our results of operations” for additional risks related to changes in Medicare reimbursement.
Increased Government Oversight and Transparency
Section 1150B of the Social Security Act requires employees of federally funded long-term care facilities to immediately report any reasonable suspicion of a crime committed against a resident of that facility. Those reports must be submitted to at least one law enforcement agency and the applicable Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (“CMS”) Survey Agency. Covered individuals who fail to report under Section 1150B are subject to various penalties, including civil monetary penalties of up to $300,000 and possible exclusion from participation in any Federal health care program. Medicare regulations require SNFs to establish and implement written policies to ensure the reporting of crimes that occur in federally funded SNFs in accordance with Section 1150B.
In August 2017, the HHS Office of Inspector General (“OIG”) issued a preliminary report regarding quality of care concerns by operators of SNFs. In its report, the OIG determined that CMS has inadequate procedures in place to ensure that incidents of potential abuse or neglect of Medicare beneficiaries residing in SNFs are identified and reported. The report was issued in connection with the OIG’s ongoing review of potential abuse and neglect of Medicare beneficiaries residing in SNFs.
As a result of the OIG report, CMS enforcement activity against SNF operators may increase, especially with regard to the reporting of potential abuse or neglect of SNF residents. If any of our tenants or their employees are found to have violated any applicable reporting requirements, they may become subject to penalties or other sanctions up to and including loss of licensure.
In November 2023, CMS adopted a final rule implementing certain portions of the Affordable Care Act, requiring the disclosure of certain ownership, managerial, and other information regarding Medicare SNFs and Medicaid nursing facilities. This final rule defines the term “real estate investment trust,” which sets the stage for Medicare SNFs to disclose whether each direct or indirect owning or managing entity is a real estate investment trust. This may enable CMS and others to scrutinize more closely how direct and indirect ownership and management correlate with care outcomes and to determine which environments are more likely to deliver better care for residents and patients.
Healthcare Licensure and Certificate of Need
Our healthcare facilities are subject to extensive federal, state and local licensure, certification and inspection laws and regulations. In addition, various licenses and permits are required to operate SNFs and ALFs, dispense narcotics, operate pharmacies, handle radioactive materials and operate equipment. Many states require certain healthcare providers to obtain a certificate of need, which requires prior approval for the construction, modification and closure of certain healthcare facilities. The ability to obtain such approval and/or the approval process may impact some of our tenants’ abilities to expand or change their businesses. Any failure to comply with any of these laws, regulations, or standards could result in penalties which may include loss or restriction of license, loss of accreditation, denial of reimbursement, imposition of fines, suspension or decertification from federal and state healthcare programs, or closure of the facility.
Privacy, Security and Data Breach Notification Laws
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, as amended (“HIPAA”) regulates the privacy and security of certain health information (“Protected Health Information”) and requires entities subject to HIPAA to provide notification of breaches of Protected Health Information. Entities subject to HIPAA include health plans, healthcare
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clearinghouses, and most health care providers (including many of our tenants). Business associates of these entities who create, receive, maintain or transmit Protected Health Information are also subject to HIPAA. Violations of the HIPAA requirements may result in civil monetary penalties of up to $50,000 per violation with a maximum civil penalty of $1.5 million in a calendar year for violations of the same requirement. However, a single breach or incident can result in violations of multiple requirements, resulting in possible penalties well in excess of $1.5 million. Breaches of unsecured Protected Health Information and other violations of HIPAA may have other material adverse consequences including material loss of business, business interruption, loss of patient or other critical data, regulatory enforcement, substantial legal liability and reputational harm. Certain violations of HIPAA can result in criminal penalties and enforcement.
Various other state and federal laws relate to privacy, security and the reporting of data breaches involving personal information (together with HIPAA, “Privacy Laws”). For example, various state laws and regulations may regulate the privacy and security of personal information, and require notification of affected individuals in the event of a data breach involving such individual’s personal information (including an individual’s name plus social security number, date of birth or credit card information, for example). Failure of the Company or its tenants to comply with applicable Privacy Laws could have a materially adverse effect on our Company. Failure of our tenants to comply with applicable Privacy Laws could have a material adverse effect on their ability to meet their obligations to us. Furthermore, the adoption of new Privacy Laws at the federal and state level could require us or our tenants to incur significant compliance costs.
Americans with Disabilities Act (the “ADA”)
Although most of our properties are not required to comply with the ADA because of certain “grandfather” provisions in the law, some of our properties must comply with the ADA and similar state or local laws to the extent that such properties are “public accommodations,” as defined in those statutes. These laws may require removal of barriers to access by persons with disabilities in certain public areas of our properties where such removal is readily achievable. Under our triple-net lease structure, our tenants would generally be responsible for additional costs that may be required to make our facilities ADA-compliant. Noncompliance with the ADA could result in the imposition of fines or an award of damages to private litigants.
Environmental Matters
A wide variety of federal, state and local environmental and occupational health and safety laws and regulations affect healthcare facility operations. These complex federal and state statutes, and their enforcement, involve a myriad of regulations, many of which involve strict liability on the part of the potential offender. Some of these federal and state statutes may directly impact us. Under various federal, state and local environmental laws, ordinances and regulations, an owner of real property, such as us, may be liable for the costs of removal or remediation of hazardous or toxic substances at, under or disposed of in connection with such property, as well as other potential costs relating to hazardous or toxic substances (including government fines and damages for injuries to persons and adjacent property). The cost of any required remediation, removal, fines or personal or property damages and the owner’s liability therefore could exceed or impair the value of the property and/or the assets of the owner. In addition, the presence of such substances, or the failure to properly dispose of or remediate such substances, may adversely affect the owner’s ability to sell or rent such property or to borrow using such property as collateral which, in turn, could reduce our revenues. See “Risk Factors - General Risk Factors - Environmental compliance costs and liabilities may materially impair the value of properties owned by us.”
Labor and Employment Matters
A wide variety of federal, state and local labor and employment laws and regulations impact healthcare facility operations. Our tenants are required to comply with all applicable federal, state and local laws and regulations relating to employment, including occupational safety and health requirements, minimum staffing, wage and hour laws, overtime and other compensation requirements, employee benefits and other leave and sick pay requirements, proper classification of workers as employee or independent contractors, and immigration and equal employment opportunity laws, among others. These laws and regulations can vary significantly among jurisdictions, can change, and can be highly technical and involve strict liability for noncompliance with technical detail. Costs and expenses related to these requirements are a significant operating expense and may increase as laws and regulations change. For example, on October 13, 2023, California Senate Bill No. 525 (“SB 525”) was signed into law, requiring a substantial increase in the minimum wage for workers operating in certain health care facilities. As a result of SB 525, certain health care facilities (including licensed skilled nursing facilities) operating in California are required to increase the wages of their covered health care employees to at least $21 per hour from June 1, 2024 to May 31, 2026, $22 or $23 per hour (depending on facility type) from June 1, 2026 to May 31, 2028, and $25 per hour after June 1, 2028.
REIT Qualification
We elected to be taxed as a REIT for U.S. federal income tax purposes beginning with our taxable year ended December 31, 2014. Our qualification as a REIT will depend upon our ability to meet, on a continuing basis, various complex
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requirements under the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended (the “Code”), relating to, among other things, the sources of our gross income, the composition and values of our assets, our distribution levels to our stockholders and the concentration of ownership of our capital stock. We believe that we are organized in conformity with the requirements for qualification and taxation as a REIT under the Code and that our manner of operation has and will enable us to continue to meet the requirements for qualification and taxation as a REIT.
The Operating Partnership
We own substantially all of our assets and properties and conduct our operations through the Operating Partnership. We believe that conducting business through the Operating Partnership provides flexibility with respect to the manner in which we structure the acquisition of properties. In particular, an UPREIT structure enables us to acquire additional properties from sellers in tax deferred transactions. In these transactions, the seller would typically contribute its assets to the Operating Partnership in exchange for units of limited partnership interest in the Operating Partnership (“OP Units”). Holders of OP Units will have the right, after a 12-month holding period, to require the Operating Partnership to redeem any or all of such OP Units for cash based upon the fair market value of an equivalent number of shares of CareTrust REIT’s common stock at the time of the redemption. Alternatively, we may elect to acquire those OP Units in exchange for shares of our common stock on a one-for-one basis. The number of shares of common stock used to determine the redemption value of OP Units, and the number of shares issuable in exchange for OP Units, is subject to adjustment in the event of stock splits, stock dividends, distributions of warrants or stock rights, specified extraordinary distributions and similar events. The Operating Partnership is managed by our wholly owned subsidiary, CareTrust GP, LLC, which is the sole general partner of the Operating Partnership and owns one percent of its outstanding partnership interests. As of December 31, 2023, CareTrust REIT is the only limited partner of the Operating Partnership, owning 99% of its outstanding partnership interests, and we have not issued OP Units to any other party.
The benefits of our UPREIT structure include the following:
Access to capital. We believe the UPREIT structure provides us with access to capital for refinancing and growth. Because an UPREIT structure includes a partnership as well as a corporation, we can access the markets through the Operating Partnership issuing equity or debt as well as the corporation issuing capital stock or debt securities. Sources of capital include possible future issuances of debt or equity through public offerings or private placements.
Growth. The UPREIT structure allows stockholders, through their ownership of common stock, and the limited partners, through their ownership of OP Units, an opportunity to participate in future investments we may make in additional properties.
Tax deferral. The UPREIT structure provides property owners who transfer their real properties to the Operating Partnership in exchange for OP Units the opportunity to defer the tax consequences that otherwise would arise from a sale of their real properties and other assets to us or to a third party. As a result, this structure allows us to acquire assets in a more efficient manner and may allow us to acquire assets that the owner would otherwise be unwilling to sell because of tax considerations.
Insurance
We maintain, or require in our leases that our tenants maintain, all applicable lines of insurance on our properties and their operations. The amount and scope of insurance coverage provided by our policies and the policies maintained by our tenants is customary for similarly situated companies in our industry. However, we cannot assure you that our tenants will maintain the required insurance coverages, and the failure by any of them to do so could have a material adverse effect on us. We also cannot assure you that we will continue to require the same levels of insurance coverage under our leases, including the Ensign Master Leases, that such insurance will be available at a reasonable cost in the future or that the insurance coverage provided will fully cover all losses on our properties upon the occurrence of a catastrophic event, nor can we assure you of the future financial viability of the insurers.
Available Information
We file annual, quarterly and current reports, proxy statements and other information with SEC. The SEC maintains an internet site that contains these reports, and other information about issuers, like us, which file electronically with the SEC. The address of that site is http://www.sec.gov. We make available our reports on Form 10-K, 10-Q, and 8-K (as well as all amendments to these reports), and other information, free of charge, on the Investor Relations section of our website at www.caretrustreit.com. The information found on, or otherwise accessible through, our website is not incorporated by reference into, nor does it form a part of, this report or any other document that we file with the SEC.
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ITEM 1A.    Risk Factors
Risks Related to Our Business and Operations
We are dependent on the healthcare operators that lease our properties to successfully operate their businesses and make contractual lease payments, and an event that materially and adversely affects their business, financial position or results of operations could materially and adversely affect our business, financial position or results of operations.
Because all of the properties we own, except for one SNF which is non-operational, are operated by our tenants pursuant to triple-net master leases (including properties we own through joint ventures), we are unable to directly implement strategic business decisions regarding the daily operation and marketing of these properties. While we have rights as the property owner under our triple-net leases and monitor our tenants’ and operators’ performance, we may have limited recourse under our master leases if we believe that a tenant or operator is not performing adequately, and any failure by a tenant to effectively conduct its operations or to maintain and improve our properties could adversely affect its business reputation and its ability to attract and retain residents in our properties, which in turn, could adversely affect their ability to make rental payments to us and otherwise adversely affect our results of operations, including our ability to repay our outstanding indebtedness or our ability to pay dividends to our stockholders as required to maintain our REIT status. Additionally, because each master lease is a triple-net lease, we depend on our tenants to pay all insurance, taxes, utilities and maintenance and repair expenses and to indemnify, defend and hold us harmless from and against various claims, litigation and liabilities arising in connection with their business. There can be no assurance that our tenants will have sufficient assets, income and financing to enable them to satisfy their contractual lease payment or indemnification obligations and our tenants have in the past, and may in the future, fail to make rent payments when due, or our tenants may declare bankruptcy.
Ensign leases or provides a guaranty for a significant portion of our properties. As of December 31, 2023, properties leased to Ensign represented $67.8 million, or 33%, of total annualized contractual rental income, and properties leased to Pennant under the Pennant Master Lease for which Ensign provides a guaranty (the “Pennant Guaranty”) represented $7.3 million, or 4%, of total annualized contractual rental income. Ensign’s inability or unwillingness to meet its lease obligations or its obligations pursuant to the Pennant Guaranty could materially adversely affect our business, financial position or results of operations. In addition, Ensign’s inability to satisfy its other lease obligations including payment of insurance, taxes and utilities, could materially and adversely affect the condition of the properties leased to Ensign as well as Ensign’s business, financial position and results of operations. Accordingly, if Ensign were to experience a material and adverse effect on its business, financial position or results of operations, our business, financial position or results of operations could also be materially and adversely affected.
Further, our dependence on Ensign’s rental payments for a substantial portion of our rental income may limit our ability to enforce our rights under the Ensign leases or the Pennant Guaranty or to terminate the Ensign leases. Ensign’s failure to comply with its lease obligations or its obligations pursuant to the Pennant Guaranty, or with federal and state healthcare laws and regulations to which the leased properties are subject, could require us to find another lessee for such leased properties and result in a decrease in or cessation of rental payments. In such event, we may be unable to locate a suitable lessee at similar rental rates or at all, which would reduce our rental income.
Unstable market and economic conditions may have serious adverse consequences on our business, results of operations and financial condition.
Global credit and financial markets have experienced extreme volatility and disruptions over the past several years, including declines in consumer confidence, concerns about declines in economic growth, increases in the rate of inflation, increases in borrowing rates and changes in liquidity and credit availability, and uncertainty about economic stability, including most recently in connection with actions undertaken by the U.S. Federal Reserve Board to address inflation, the military conflicts in Ukraine and Gaza, the continuing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and supply chain disruptions. While consumer sentiment is on the rise, concerns about declines in economic growth have faded and inflation has cooled there can be no assurance that further deterioration in credit and financial markets and confidence in economic conditions will not occur. Our general business strategy may be adversely affected by any such economic downturn, volatile business environment or unpredictable and unstable market conditions. In addition, increased costs due to inflationary conditions may have material adverse effects on the operating expenses of our tenants and their ability to meet their obligations to us and may also increase the costs for us to make capital improvements to our facilities.
Our business could also be adversely impacted by volatility caused by geopolitical events, such as the conflicts in Ukraine and Gaza. A significant downturn in economic activity may cause a reduction in spending on healthcare matters and our tenants may need to seek to lower their costs by renegotiating leases. Such reductions may disproportionately affect our revenue. In addition, if the current equity and credit markets deteriorate, it may make any necessary debt or equity financing more difficult, more costly, and more dilutive. Furthermore, our stock price may decline due in part to the volatility of the stock market and the general economic downturn.
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Our tenants depend on reimbursement from government and other third-party payors and if reimbursement rates from such payors are reduced by future legislative reform, it could cause our tenants’ revenues to decline and could affect their ability to meet their obligations to us.
Sometimes, governmental payors freeze or reduce payments to healthcare providers, or provide annual reimbursement rate increases that are smaller than expected, due to budgetary and other pressures. Healthcare reimbursement will likely continue to be of significant importance to federal and state authorities. For example, the federal government and a number of states are currently managing budget deficits and, as a result, many states are focusing on the reduction of expenditures under their Medicaid programs, which may result in a freeze on Medicaid rates or a decrease in reimbursement rates for our tenants. The need to control Medicaid expenditures may be exacerbated by the potential for increased enrollment in Medicaid due to unemployment and declines in family incomes. These potential reductions could be compounded by the potential for federal cost-cutting efforts that could lead to reductions in reimbursement to our tenants under both the Medicaid and Medicare programs. Additionally, in July 2023, Medicare excluded marriage and family therapist services and mental health counselor services from SNF consolidated billing. While these services may still be billed by the clinicians providing the services, such services may not be covered under the SNFs Medicare Part A payment. While we cannot make any assessment as to the ultimate timing or the effect that any future legislative reforms may have on our tenants’ costs of doing business and on the amount of reimbursement by government and other third-party payors, potential reductions in Medicaid and Medicare reimbursement, or in non-governmental third-party payor reimbursement, to our tenants could reduce the revenues of our tenants and their ability to meet their obligations to us.
Bankruptcy, insolvency or financial deterioration of our tenants could delay or prevent collection of unpaid rents or require us to find new tenants.
We receive substantially all of our income as rental payments under leases of properties we own directly or through our joint ventures. We have no control over the success or failure of our tenants’ businesses and, at any time, any of our tenants may experience a downturn in its business that may weaken its financial condition. As a result, our tenants have in the past, and may in the future, fail to make rent payments when due, or our tenants may declare bankruptcy. Tenant bankruptcies or failures to make rent payments when due could result in termination of the tenant’s lease and could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations and our ability to make distributions to our stockholders (which could adversely affect our ability to raise capital or service our indebtedness). This risk is magnified where we lease multiple properties to a single tenant, such as Ensign.
If a tenant is unable to comply with the terms of its lease, we may be forced to write off unpaid amounts due to us from the tenant, move to a cash basis method of accounting for recognizing rental income from the tenant or otherwise modify the tenant’s lease in ways that are unfavorable to us. Alternatively, failure of a tenant to perform under a lease could require us to declare a default, repossess the property, find a suitable replacement tenant, hire third-party managers to operate the property or sell the property. See Note 2, Summary of Significant Accounting Policies and Note 3, Real Estate Investments, Net for further information.
If one or more of our tenants files for bankruptcy relief, the U.S. Bankruptcy Code provides that a debtor has the option to assume or reject the unexpired lease within a certain period of time. Any bankruptcy filing by or relating to one of our tenants could bar all efforts by us to collect pre-bankruptcy debts from that tenant or seize its property. A tenant bankruptcy could also delay our efforts to collect past due balances under the leases and could ultimately preclude collection of all or a portion of these sums. It is possible that we may recover substantially less than the full value of any unsecured claims we hold, if any, which may have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations, and our ability to make distributions to our stockholders.
Replacement tenants or operators may be difficult to identify and we may be required to incur substantial renovation costs to make our healthcare properties suitable for such tenants or operators.
If our tenants terminate or do not renew their leases with us, we would attempt to reposition the properties with another tenant or operator. Rental payments on such properties could decline or cease altogether while we reposition the properties with a suitable replacement tenant or operator and we may be required to fund certain expenses and obligations (e.g., real estate taxes, debt costs and maintenance expenses) to preserve the value of, and avoid the imposition of liens on, such properties while they are being repositioned.
Healthcare facilities are typically highly customized and may not be easily adapted to non-healthcare-related uses. The improvements generally required to conform a property to healthcare use, such as upgrading electrical, gas and plumbing infrastructure and security, are costly and at times tenant-specific. A new or replacement tenant may require different features in a property, depending on that tenant’s particular operations. If a current tenant is unable to pay rent and vacates a property, we may incur substantial expenditures to modify a property before we are able to secure another tenant. Supply chain volatility and labor shortages may increase these construction costs. In addition, approvals of local authorities for any required modifications
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and/or renovations may be necessary, resulting in delays in transitioning a facility to a new tenant. These expenditures or renovations and delays could materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition or results of operations.
In addition, we may fail to identify suitable replacements or enter into leases or other arrangements with new tenants or operators on a timely basis or on terms as favorable to us as our current leases, if at all. If we experience a significant number of properties not under a lease due to the inability to find suitable replacement tenants or successfully reposition the property, our operating expenses could increase significantly. Even after a suitable replacement tenant or operator has taken over operation of a property, it may still take an extended period of time before such property is fully repositioned and value restored, if at all. Any of these results could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations and our ability to make distributions to stockholders.
We have and may in the future incur impairment charges, which could negatively impact our results of operations.
At each reporting period, we evaluate our real estate investments and other assets for impairment indicators whenever events or changes in circumstances indicate that the carrying amount of the assets may not be recoverable. The existence of impairment indicators is based on factors such as market conditions, operating performance and legal structure. If we determine that an impairment has occurred, we are required to adjust the net carrying value of the asset, which could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations in the period in which the write-off occurs. For example, in the twelve months ended December 31, 2023, we recorded impairment charges of approximately $36.3 million.
The geographic concentration of some of our facilities could leave us vulnerable to an economic downturn, regulatory changes or acts of nature in those areas.
As a result of the concentration of our properties in California and Texas as described in “Portfolio Summary” under Item 1 of this Annual Report on Form 10-K, the conditions of local economies and real estate markets, including increases in real estate taxes, changes in governmental rules, regulations and reimbursement rates or criteria, changes in demographics, state funding, acts of nature, the impacts of climate change and other factors that may result in a decrease in demand and/or reimbursement for skilled nursing services in these states could have a disproportionately adverse effect on our tenants’ revenue, costs and results of operations, which may affect their ability to meet their obligations to us.
Our facilities located in Texas and certain other states in the southeast are especially susceptible to natural disasters such as hurricanes, tornadoes and flooding and our facilities located in California are particularly susceptible to natural disasters such as fires, earthquakes and mudslides. These types of natural disasters will likely increase in number, scope and intensity as a result of climate change. Further, these acts of nature may cause disruption to our tenants, their employees and our facilities, which could have an adverse impact on our tenants’ patients and businesses. In order to provide patient care, our tenants are dependent on consistent and reliable delivery of food, pharmaceuticals, utilities and other goods to our facilities, and the availability of employees to provide services at the facilities. If the power supply, delivery of goods or the ability of employees to reach our facilities is interrupted in any material respect due to a natural disaster or other reasons, it would have a significant impact on our facilities and our tenants’ businesses at those facilities. Furthermore, the impact, or impending threat, of a natural disaster may require that our tenants evacuate one or more facilities, which would be costly and would involve risks, including potentially fatal risks, for the patients at such facilities. The impact of disasters and similar events is inherently uncertain. Such events could harm our tenants’ patients and employees, severely damage or destroy one or more of our facilities, harm our tenants’ business, reputation, financial condition and financial performance, or otherwise cause our tenants’ businesses to suffer in ways that we currently cannot predict.
In addition, to the extent that significant changes in the climate occur in areas where our properties are located, we may experience extreme weather, including higher temperatures, increases in precipitation, fire, drought and flood, all of which may result in physical damage to or a decrease in demand for properties located in these areas or affected by these conditions. Based on our overall portfolio physical climate risk assessment, we found that the highest climate risk for our portfolio was heat caused by higher temperatures, which may result in higher operating and energy costs for our tenants and higher capital costs for resiliency measures for us and our tenants to maintain the property and its value. Should the impact of climate change be material in nature, including destruction or degradation of our properties, or occur for lengthy periods of time, our financial condition or results of operations may be adversely affected. Increased costs to our tenants to maintain the properties and take appropriate resiliency measures could harm the financial condition and financial performance of our tenants. In addition, changes in federal and state legislation and regulation on climate change could result in increased capital expenditures to improve the energy efficiency of our existing properties and could also require us to spend more on our new development properties without a corresponding increase in revenue.
We are subject to risks associated with public health crises, including significant COVID-19 outbreaks as well as other pandemics or epidemics.
We are subject to risks associated with public health crises and government measures to prevent the spread of infectious diseases, including the global health concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The COVID-19 pandemic adversely
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impacted nearly all aspects of our business. Public health crises, including significant COVID-19 outbreaks and any future epidemics or pandemic, could result in similar adverse impacts on our business, results of operations, cash flows and financial condition. Risks to our business that have been associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, and may be associated with future COVID-19 outbreaks or other public health crises, include:
one or more of our tenants or borrowers could experience deteriorating financial conditions and be unable or unwilling to pay rent on time and in full (which has, and could continue to result from, among other reasons (i) increased operating costs and staffing requirements related to compliance with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”) protocols, (ii) decreased occupancy rates, (iii) increased scrutiny by regulators, (iv) potential repayments of relief funds received by tenants, (v) nursing or other staffing shortages; or (vi) decisions by elderly individuals to avoid or delay entrance into assisted living and other long-term care facilities);
the possibility we may have to restructure tenants’ obligations and may not be able to do so on terms that are favorable to us;
the potential need to recognize asset impairment charges or credit losses on our loans receivable if we determine that the full amount of our investments are not recoverable;
increased costs or delays that we have incurred, and may continue to incur, if we need to reposition or transition any of our currently-leased properties to another tenant or operator, which have adversely impacted, and may in the future adversely impact, our revenues and results of operations;
risks related to lawsuits and regulatory enforcement actions related to pandemic outbreaks involving us, our tenants, operators or borrowers, including increases in the costs of business, negative publicity and/or further decreases in occupancy and/or profitability at our facilities;
the expiration, or lack of enforcement, of certain liability immunity for health care providers in relation to a qualified pandemic under the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act (the “PREP Act”);
complete or partial closures of, or other operational issues at, one or more of our properties resulting from government actions or directives;
limitations on our access to capital and other sources of funding, which could adversely impact our ability to make new property investments;
our ability to continue to make cash distributions to our stockholders commensurate with historical levels; and
our ability to repay outstanding debt or maintain compliance with covenants under our Second Amended Credit Facility (as defined below) and the indenture governing our Notes.
The extent to which the COVID-19 pandemic, or other future health crises, may impact our business, results of operations, cash flows and financial condition depends on many factors which are highly uncertain and are difficult to predict. These factors include, but are not limited to, the duration and spread of any outbreak, the timing, distribution and efficacy of vaccines and other treatments, Unites States and foreign government actions to respond to the outbreak, the extent of disruption to our business and the business of our tenants and borrowers, and how quickly and to what extent normal operation conditions can resume.
We pursue property acquisitions and seek strategic opportunities in the ordinary course of our business, which may result in significant usage of management resources or costs, and we may not fully realize the potential benefits of such transactions.
We regularly review, evaluate, engage in discussions regarding, and pursue acquisitions of properties and seek other strategic opportunities in the ordinary course of business in order to maximize stockholder value. We may devote a significant amount of our management resources to, and incur significant costs in connection with, such transactions, which may not result in definitive agreements or the completion of any transaction and could negatively impact our operations. In addition, there is no assurance that we will fully realize the potential benefits of any past or future acquisition or strategic transaction.
If we cannot identify and purchase a sufficient quantity of suitable properties at favorable prices or if we are unable to finance acquisitions on commercially favorable terms, or at all, our business, financial position or results of operations could be materially and adversely affected. Furthermore, any future acquisitions may require the issuance of securities, the incurrence of debt, assumption of contingent liabilities or incurrence of significant expenditures, each of which could materially adversely impact our business, financial condition or results of operations. Additionally, the fact that we must distribute 90% of our REIT taxable income in order to maintain our qualification as a REIT may limit our ability to rely upon rental payments from our leased properties or subsequently acquired properties in order to finance acquisitions. As a result, if debt or equity financing is not available on acceptable terms, further acquisitions might be limited.
Investments through joint ventures involve risks not present in investments in which we are the sole investor.
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We have invested, and may continue to invest, as a joint venture partner in joint ventures. Such investments may involve risks not otherwise present when acquiring real estate directly, including for example:

the joint venture partner(s) may at any time have economic or business interests or goals which are or which may become inconsistent with our business interests or goals, including inconsistent goals relating to the sale of properties held in the joint venture or the timing of termination or liquidation of the joint venture;
the possibility that the joint venture partner(s) might become insolvent or bankrupt;
the possibility that we may incur liabilities as a result of an action taken by the joint venture partner(s);
joint ventures may share certain approval rights over major decisions;
a joint venture partner may be in a position to take action contrary to our instructions or requests or contrary to our policies or objectives, including our policy with respect to qualifying and maintaining our qualification as a REIT;
our ability to sell or transfer our interest in the joint ventures on advantageous terms when we so desire may be limited or restricted under the terms of our agreements with the counterparties in the joint ventures;
we may be required to contribute additional capital if the counterparties in the joint ventures fail to fund their share of required capital contributions;
disputes between us and a joint venture partner may result in litigation or arbitration that would increase our expenses and distract our officers and directors from focusing their time and effort on our business and result in subjecting the properties owned by the applicable joint venture to additional risk; or
under certain joint venture arrangements, neither joint venture partner may have the power to control the venture, and an impasse could be reached which might have a negative influence on the joint venture.

In the future, our joint ventures may also involve property development, which presents additional risks that could render a development project less profitable or not profitable at all and, under certain circumstances, may prevent completion of development activities once undertaken.
Increased competition has resulted and may further result in lower net revenues for some of our tenants and may affect their ability to meet their financial and other contractual obligations to us.
The healthcare industry is highly competitive. The occupancy levels at, and results of operations from, our facilities are dependent on our ability and the ability of our tenants to compete with other tenants and operators on a number of different levels, including the quality of care provided, reputation, the physical appearance of a facility, price, the range of services offered, family preference, amenities, alternatives for healthcare delivery, the supply of competing properties, physicians, staff, referral sources, location, and the size and demographics of the population in the surrounding area. Operating expenses such as food, utilities, taxes, insurance, labor costs (including due to minimum wage laws) and rent or debt service continue to increase. In addition, our tenants face an increasingly competitive labor market for skilled management personnel and nurses together with Medicaid reimbursement in some states that does not cover the full cost of caring for residents. Significant turnover, or a shortage of nurses or other trained personnel or general inflationary pressures on wages, may force tenants to enhance pay and benefits packages to compete effectively for skilled personnel, or to use more expensive contract personnel, but they may be unable to offset these added costs by increasing the rates charged to residents. Any increase in labor costs and other property operating expenses or any failure by our tenants to attract and retain qualified personnel could reduce the revenues of our tenants and their ability to meet their obligations to us.
Our tenants also compete with numerous other companies providing similar healthcare services or alternatives such as home health agencies, life care at home, community-based service programs, retirement communities and convalescent centers. We cannot be certain that our tenants will be able to achieve occupancy and rate levels, or manage their expenses, in a way that will enable them to meet all of their obligations to us. Further, many competing companies may have resources and attributes that are superior to those of our tenants. They may encounter increased competition that could limit their ability to maintain or attract residents or expand their businesses or to manage their expenses, either of which could adversely affect their ability to meet their obligations to us, potentially decreasing our revenues, impairing our assets, and/or increasing our collection and dispute costs.
In addition, if development of seniors housing facilities outpaces demand for those assets in markets in which we are located, those markets may become saturated and our seniors housing tenants and operators could experience decreased occupancy, which may affect their ability to meet their financial and other contractual obligations to us.
Required regulatory approvals can delay or prohibit transfers of our healthcare properties, which could result in periods in which we are unable to receive rent for such properties.
Our tenants that operate SNFs and other healthcare facilities must be licensed under applicable state law and, depending upon the type of facility, certified or approved as providers under the Medicare and/or Medicaid programs. Prior to the transfer of the operations of such healthcare properties to successor operators, the new operator generally must become licensed under state law and, in certain states, receive change of ownership approvals under certificate of need laws (which provide for a
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certification that the state has made a determination that a need exists for the beds located on the property) and, if applicable, file for a Medicare and Medicaid change of ownership. Upon termination or expiration of existing leases, delays or the failure of the new tenant in receiving regulatory approvals from the applicable federal, state or local government agencies, may prolong the period during which we are unable to collect rent and the property may experience performance declines. We could also incur substantial additional expenses in connection with any licensing, receivership or change of ownership proceedings.
We may not be able to sell properties when we desire because real estate investments are relatively illiquid, which could materially and adversely affect our business, financial position or results of operations.
Real estate investments are generally illiquid. As a result, we may be unable to vary our portfolio promptly in response to changes in the real estate market. A downturn in the real estate market could materially and adversely affect the value of our properties and our ability to sell such properties for acceptable prices or terms. We also cannot predict the length of time needed to find a willing purchaser and to close the sale of a property or portfolio of properties. These factors and any others that would impede our ability to respond to adverse changes in the performance of our properties could materially and adversely affect our business, financial position or results of operations and our ability to pay dividends and make distributions.
We or our tenants may experience uninsured or underinsured losses, which could result in a significant loss of the capital we have invested in a property, decrease anticipated future revenues or cause us to incur unanticipated expenses.
Our lease agreements require that the tenant maintain general and professional liability insurance and comprehensive liability and hazard insurance. However, there are certain types of losses (including, but not limited to, losses arising from environmental conditions or of a catastrophic nature, such as earthquakes, wildfires, hurricanes and floods) that may be uninsurable or not economically insurable. In addition, insurance coverage may be insufficient to pay the full current market value or replacement cost of any loss. Inflation, changes in tort liability laws, changes in building codes and ordinances, environmental considerations, and other factors also might make it infeasible to use insurance proceeds to protect a tenant in a liability claim or replace a property after such property has been damaged or destroyed. Under such circumstances, the insurance proceeds received might not be adequate to restore the economic position with respect to such tenant or property.
If one of our tenants experiences a material general or professional liability loss that is uninsured or exceeds policy coverage limits, it may be unable to satisfy its lease payment obligations to us. If one of our properties experiences a loss that is uninsured or that exceeds policy coverage limits, we could lose the capital invested in the damaged property as well as the anticipated future cash flows from the property.
In addition, even if damage to our properties is covered by insurance, business disruptions caused by a casualty event may result in lost revenue for our tenants or us for which insurance may not fully compensate them or us for such loss of revenue. If one of our tenants experiences such a loss, it may be unable to satisfy its lease payment obligations to us.
We are, and may continue to be, exposed to contingent rent escalators, which could hinder our profitability and growth. 
We derive revenue primarily by leasing our assets under long-term triple-net leases with rental rates that, subject to certain limitations, are generally fixed with annual rent escalations contingent on changes in the Consumer Price Index, subject to maximum fixed percentages. If the Consumer Price Index does not increase, our revenues may not increase. In addition, if economic conditions result in significant increases in the Consumer Price Index, but the escalations under our leases are capped, our growth and profitability also may be limited.
Cybersecurity incidents or other damage to the information systems and technology of us or our tenants could harm our business.
We rely on information technology networks, enterprise and other cloud-based applications and other information systems to process, transmit and store electronic information, and to manage and support our business processes, including financial transactions and records, and to maintain personal information and tenant and lease data. We purchase some of our information technology, including software and cloud-based technology, from third party service providers, on whom we and our systems depend. While we have taken steps to protect the security of our information systems, we have, from time to time, experienced cybersecurity incidents of varying degrees, although none of these cyber incidents have had a material adverse impact on our business, financial condition or results of operations. The technology infrastructure and systems of some of our cloud solution and other third party service providers have also in the past experienced, and may in the future experience, cybersecurity incidents of varying degrees. Cybersecurity incidents can be caused by ransomware, computer denial-of-service attacks, worms, and other malicious software programs or other attacks, including the covert introduction of malware to computers and networks, and the use of techniques or processes that change frequently, may be disguised or difficult to detect, or are designed to remain dormant until a triggering event, and may continue undetected for an extended period of time. Cybersecurity incidents also result from social engineering or impersonation of authorized users as well as efforts to discover and exploit any design flaws, bugs, security vulnerabilities or security weaknesses, intentional or unintentional acts by employees or other insiders with access privileges, intentional acts of vandalism or fraud by third parties and sabotage. The risk
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of cybersecurity incidents has generally increased as the number, intensity and sophistication of attacks and intrusions from around the world have increased.
We have engaged a third-party cybersecurity firm who serves as our dedicated information technology and cybersecurity team and helps us oversee, implement and manage our processes and controls to assess, identify and manage risks from cybersecurity threats. It is possible that our processes and controls will not detect or protect against all cybersecurity threats or incidents. In addition, any failure on the part of our outsourced cybersecurity team to effectively monitor and protect our information systems could make us more vulnerable to cybersecurity incidents. Our technology infrastructure and information systems are also vulnerable to damage or interruption from natural disasters, power loss and telecommunications failures. Failure to maintain proper function, security and availability of our information systems or the loss or misuse of the data maintained in those systems could interrupt our operations, damage our reputation, subject us to significant costs to respond and implement remediation measures and liability claims or regulatory penalties and could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
Our tenants may also from time to time experience cybersecurity incidents or other damage or interruption to their information systems that disrupt their operations or result in the loss or misuse of confidential information or other sensitive or personal information. Any resulting financial impact to our tenants, including liability claims or regulatory penalties, costs to respond and implement remediation measures as well as operational consequences or business impacts resulting from any damage to their reputation or harm to their business relationships, could negatively impact the ability of our tenants to meet their financial and other contractual obligations to us, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
Bank failures or other events affecting financial institutions could have a material adverse effect on our and our tenants’ liquidity, results of operations, and financial condition.
The failure of a bank, or events involving limited liquidity, defaults, non-performance, or other adverse conditions in the financial or credit markets impacting financial institutions, or concerns or rumors about such events, may adversely impact us, either directly or through an adverse impact on our tenants, operators, and borrowers. A bank failure or other event affecting financial institutions could lead to disruptions in our or our tenants’, operators’, and borrowers’ access to bank deposits or borrowing capacity, including access to letters of credit from certain of our tenants relating to lease obligations. In addition, in the event of a bank failure or liquidity crisis, our or our tenants’, operators’, and borrowers’ deposits in excess of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (“FDIC”) limits may not be backstopped by the U.S. government, and banks or financial institutions with which we or our tenants, operators, and borrowers do business may be unable to obtain needed liquidity from other banks, government institutions, or by acquisition. Any adverse effects to our tenants’, operators’, or borrowers’ liquidity or financial performance could affect their ability to meet their financial and other contractual obligations to us, which could have a material adverse effect our business, results of operations, and financial condition.
Risks Related to Laws and Regulations
Healthcare reform legislation impacts cannot accurately be predicted and could adversely affect our results of operations.
We and the healthcare operators leasing our properties depend on the healthcare industry and are susceptible to risks associated with healthcare reform. Legislative proposals are introduced each year that would introduce major changes in the healthcare system, both nationally and at the state level. For example, we believe that efforts may be made to, among other things, transition Federal payment programs further in the direction of value based care, but we cannot predict whether or in what form any of these measures may be enacted, or what effect they would have on our business or the businesses of our tenants if enacted. Efforts may also be made to reduce the age at which individuals become eligible for Medicare, which could have an adverse impact on our tenants because Medicare sometimes reimburses long term care providers at rates lower than those paid by commercial payors. In addition, the Biden Administration announced a focus on implementing minimum staffing requirements and increased inspections as part of nursing home reforms announced in the 2022 State of the Union Address, and in July 2022, CMS announced it was evaluating a proposed federal staffing mandate for SNFs. Specifically, CMS sought input on establishing minimum staffing requirements for long-term care facilities and issued updates to guidance on minimum health and safety standards that long-term care facilities must meet to participate in Medicare and Medicaid and updated and developed new guidance in the State Operations Manual to address issues that significantly affect residents of long-term care facilities. In September 2023, CMS issued the Minimum Staffing Standards for Long-Term Care Facilities and Medicaid Institutional Payment Transparency Reporting proposed rule, which, if implemented as written would establish minimum nurse staffing standards, RN on-site requirements and staffing assessment requirements. It is uncertain whether the proposed rule will be implemented as written and, if it is, whether it will be accompanied by additional funding to offset any increased staffing requirements for our operators. If additional funding is unavailable at sufficient levels or at all, a mandate to increase staffing levels in SNFs may have a material adverse effect on the operating results and financial condition of our tenants. We cannot predict whether any future legislative proposals will be adopted or, if adopted, the impact these proposals would have on our tenants or our business.
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Our tenants are subject to extensive federal, state and local laws and regulations affecting the healthcare industry that include those relating to, among other things, licensure, conduct of operations, ownership of facilities, addition of facilities and equipment, allowable costs, services, prices for services, qualified beneficiaries, quality of care, patient rights and insurance, fraudulent or abusive behavior, labor and employment issues and financial and other arrangements that may be entered into by healthcare providers. See “Government Regulation, Licensing and Enforcement” in Item 1 of this Annual Report on Form 10-K for more information. If our tenants or operators fail to comply with the laws, regulations and other requirements applicable to their businesses and the operation of our properties, they could become ineligible to receive reimbursement from governmental and private third-party payor programs, face bans on admissions of new patients or residents, suffer civil or criminal penalties or be required to make significant operational changes. The cost to comply with these laws, regulations and other requirements results in increased costs of doing business for our tenants and operators. For example, on October 13, 2023, California Senate Bill No. 525 (“SB 525”) was signed into law, requiring a substantial increase in the minimum wage for workers operating in certain health care facilities. As a result of SB 525, certain health care facilities (including licensed skilled nursing facilities) operating in California are required to increase the wages of their covered health care employees to at least $21 per hour from June 1, 2024 to May 31, 2026, $22 or $23 per hour (depending on facility type) from June 1, 2026 to May 31, 2028, and $25 per hour after June 1, 2028. If our tenants are unable to offset these increased costs, the operating results and financial condition of our tenants will be adversely impacted and they may be unable to satisfy their rent obligations to us.
We believe that additional resources may be dedicated to regulatory enforcement, which could further increase our tenants’ costs of doing business and negatively impact their ability to pay their rent obligations to us. Changes in enforcement policies by federal and state governments have also resulted in a significant increase in inspection rates, citations of regulatory deficiencies and sanctions, including terminations from Medicare and Medicaid programs, bars on Medicare and Medicaid payments for new admissions, civil monetary penalties and criminal penalties. Our tenants and operators could be forced to expend considerable resources responding to an investigation, lawsuit or other enforcement action under applicable laws or regulations. Additionally, if our tenants’ residents do not have insurance, it could adversely impact the tenants’ ability to satisfy their obligation to us.
Tenants that fail to comply with applicable requirements of governmental reimbursement programs, such as Medicare or Medicaid, may cease to operate or be unable to meet their financial and other contractual obligations to us.
Our tenants are subject to the following risks, among others, relating to governmental healthcare reimburseme