Slight drop for SNF occupancy

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The occupancy rate for skilled nursing facilities fell 0.1% during the fourth quarter of 2015, according to data released in January by the National Investment Center for Seniors Housing & Care.

The overall occupancy rate for SNFs dropped to 87.4%, down from 87.5% in the third quarter of 2015. 

Changes to the sector as a whole, including demand for specialized care and an ever-changing policy landscape, could be behind the drop, Beth Mace, chief economist for NIC, told McKnight's.

Additional factors include local market conditions, updated accountability measures and the rise of value-based reimbursements, Mace added. 

Occupancy for the broader “seniors housing” category, driven primarily by independent living, rose 0.2%, to 90.1%.

The annual rent growth for SNFs reached 3.0% in the fourth quarter, a boost of 0.3% from the third quarter's growth rate of 2.7%. The report showed the annual inventory growth for nursing homes was down 0.1% in the fourth quarter, a slowdown from the negative 0.4% rate in the third quarter.