The Producer Price Index for acute-care hospitals
was flat for the second straight month in September, preliminary federal inflation figures show.
For the year that ended last month, the acute-care hospital price index increased 1.5% compared with 2.6% the prior 12 months.
The preliminary figures are the slowest 12-month increase to the acute-care hospital index since 2004. For the calendar year that ended in December, the acute-care hospital price index increased 2.6%.
The index, which captures changes to reimbursement rates
paid to hospitals, posted a decline of 0.8% in April this year and has seen modest or no changes in the months that followed. The April decrease was steeper than the 0.6% drop first reported in preliminary figures
The Producer Price Index for acute-care hospitals was also flat in September 2012.
office Producer Price Index was also flat for the second consecutive month, the preliminary figures show. In September 2012, the price index captures a 0.2% increase for physician offices. The year that ended in September saw a 0.3% increase in the physician office PPI compared with the prior year's 1.1% increase. Follow Melanie Evans on Twitter: @MHmevans