Skilled care occupancy may have peaked for 2016, third quarter NIC report shows

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Skilled nursing facility occupancy reached 82.5% in the third quarter of 2016, a rate that is unlikely to reach any higher in the remainder of the calendar year, a new report from the National Investment Center for Seniors Housing & Care shows.

The third quarter occupancy rate is a slight increase over the five-year low point of 82.3% reached in July, according to NIC's Skilled Nursing Data Report, published Thursday.

“We typically see the lowest occupancy rates in the third or fourth quarter, when there are fewer seasonality factors, such as the flu, driving nursing home demand,” said Bill Kauffman, senior principal at NIC. “Coming out of the five-year low we saw in July, it's not surprising to see a slight uptick, but we might have seen occupancy hit its peak for 2016 unless there's an early flu season.”

The third quarter rate for 2016 is also lower than the 8.36% rate documented for the third quarter of last year. The report blames that drop in part on decline in skilled mix occupancy.

The NIC report also found that managed Medicare revenue per patient day declined for the second quarter in a row, while private-pay revenue per patient day grew at a faster rate.