Site-neutral payments likely to move forward, experts believe

Reimbursement is shifting to home health, hurting the finances of skilled nursing facilities, a newly released market analysis states.

The nursing care sector grew at an average annual rate of 1.6% between 2008 and 2013, according to the report announced Tuesday by Research and Markets, which describes itself as the world’s largest seller of market research.

The skilled care market is “increasingly suffering from state efforts to reimburse lower cost home care over higher priced nursing care,” according to a summary of the report.

Home care expanded at an annual average rate of 7.2% during that same time period, the report shows. This was the fastest rate of growth among all long-term care sectors. Assisted living grew at an average annual rate of 5.6%.

Long-term care, as a whole, has been in a period of “solid expansion,” the report summary states. The market — encompassing assisted living, home care, nursing and hospice — grew from more than $224 billion in 2008 to nearly $277 billion last year.

The long-term care sector also has been a hotbed of merger and acquisition activity recently, according to a separate report that was released last week by Irving Levin Associates Inc. Deal volume decreased last year in every healthcare arena except long-term care, that report showed.