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Reimbursements, Care Level Dominant Themes for Health Care REITs

11/20/2012 | By Matthew Bechard

Wendy Simpson, president and CEO of LTC Properties (NYSE: LTC), joined REIT.com for a CEO Spotlight video interview at REITWorld 2012: NAREIT's Annual Convention for All Things REIT at the Manchester Grand Hyatt in San Diego.

LTC Properties focuses its investments in long-term care and other health care properties through mortgage loans, property lease transactions and other investments. The company celebrated its 20th anniversary this year. Simpson discussed LTC's evolution since the company was found two decades ago.

"We started out 20 years ago as a mortgage REIT, specifically to give mortgages to skilled nursing properties. Over the years we transitioned to an equity REIT," Simpson said. "We now have investments in assisted living, independent living, a range of care properties, as well as skilled. So we've transitioned, but stayed in the long-term health care area."

In terms of trends in the industry, she noted that larger REITs have increasingly started to buy operations since the REIT Investment Diversification and Empowerment Act (RIDEA) was enacted. For now, Simpson said, LTC is still strictly doing sale-leaseback transactions.

Fundamentals within the assisted living sector are strong, according to Simpson, who added that this is mostly coming from private pay facilities. She also said there's a good amount of coverage of the company's leases in skilled nursing, which are government-reimbursed.

"But, in terms of pricing deals in the future, to really understand where the reimbursement is going and what the real estate values are, I think it's going to be a little later in the year," she said.

Reimbursements, the levels of care provided and where people will get their health care will be several of the primary issues facing the sector in 2013, according to Simpson.