Growth in consumer prices for hospitals slowed last year compared with the prior year, largely thanks to more sluggish growth in inpatient prices, newly released data show.
Hospital consumer prices climbed 5.1% in 2012 after an increase of 6.2% in 2011, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data show. Inpatient hospital price growth also decelerated, increasing 5.2% in 2012 compared with 6.8% the prior year. Outpatient hospital consumer price growth was largely steady last year, with growth of 5% after a gain of 5.1% in 2011.
For December, seasonally adjusted figures for the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' Consumer Price Index
show hospital prices increased 0.9% compared with 0.4% for the same month the prior year. Inpatient prices increased 0.8% in December 2012 after an increase of 0.4% in December 2011. Outpatient prices also grew more quickly in December 2012 compared with the same month the prior year, increasing 0.8% and 0.4%, respectively.
Physician service consumer prices grew more modestly last year than hospital prices. The BLS Consumer Price Index for physician services increased 2.1% in 2012, slightly slower than the previous year's 2.7%.
For December, the seasonally adjusted consumer prices for physician services were flat. In December 2011, the prices climbed 0.2%.