Ventas (NYSE:VTR) is one of the largest players in the healthcare real estate investment trust (REIT) space. It has a long history of executing well, with its CEO often receiving awards for her management skills. But it has stumbled lately, which management believes is just a temporary supply/demand mismatch. There’s no particular reason to worry, except Ventas just chose to stand pat on its dividend. That breaks with recent history. What’s going on?Here’s the thing: Welltower ( NYSE:WELL), one of Ventas’ largest competitors, let its much longer streak of annual increases die not too long ago. Welltower hasn’t increased its dividend for three years, with the last hike taking place at the start of 2017. Welltower, for reference, is considered one of the best-run REITs in the healthcare niche. Healthpeak Properties (NYSE:PEAK), formerly known as HCP, the other big name in the space, hasn’t increased its dividend since 2017, as well, following the spin off of its nursing home business (which resulted in a reduced dividend payment to Healthpeak investors). The lack of dividend growth at Welltower and Healthpeak was a selling point for Ventas. Although dividend growth in recent years hasn’t been huge, hovering around the long-term rate of inflation growth over the trailing three- and five-year periods, it is much better than no growth at all. In fact, the buying power of a dividend that isn’t increased over time will slowly get eroded by rising prices. That Ventas has chosen to stand pat on the dividend is a big deal.