It’s been years since Genesis Healthcare has seen numbers like this.

That’s what officials with the nation’s largest nursing home chain said Thursday as the Kennett Square, PA, operator unveiled its third quarter operating numbers. Adjusted earnings on a same-store basis grew by 2.6%, or $3.8 million, when compared to the same quarter the previous year, said CEO George Hager Jr.  That hasn’t happened since 2015.

“I cannot stress how significant these results are,” Hager told investors. “Occupancy trends are clearly improving.”

The numbers reflect the provider cutting costs, boosting operator productivity, stabilizing occupancy at its SNFs, and more favorable reimbursement rates, said Chief Financial Officer Tom DiVittorio.

Occupancy in the third quarter that ended in Sept. 30 sat at 84.3%, a drop from the same period in 2017. But still, it was much less than the 70-basis point decline seen in the third quarter of the last two years.

Hager attributed the occupancy gains to the company exiting certain more challenging markets, such as Texas, along with improving lengths of stay. He also noted that there’s been a declining supply of beds in skilled nursing. Demographics, too, have played a part, with growth in the 85-plus population.

“I also think that this industry, which historically has been focused on only the short-stay population, clearly understands the value and the need of providing services to the long-term care population,” Hager said. “We have been focused on specialties like dementia care that are more focused on attracting the long-term care patient. And I’m hopeful that we will continue to see the trends that we’ve seen in the back end of October and through November to date.”

Adjusted earnings for the quarter before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization landed at $113.5 million, compared to $109.1 million the same period of last year.