A federal measure of healthcare inflation found physician office prices increased last year at the slowest rate in more than a decade.
The Producer Price Index
, which measures changes to reimbursement
paid to physician offices, hospitals and other healthcare providers, captured a 0.3% change in physician office prices in 2013.
That's compared with an increase of 1.2% in 2012 and it's slower than every year since 2002, when the index declined by 0.1%. On average, physician office prices have increased 1.8% per year since the data collection began in 1997.
Physician office prices declined by 0.4% in the month of December after remaining flat the prior month. That's compared with a decline of 0.1% in December 2012.
Acute-care hospital prices as measured by the Producer Price Index grew 2% last year, compared with 2.6% in 2012. The average annual increase to acute-care hospital prices since 2005 is 3%.
For the month of December, acute-care hospital prices increased 0.5%, following November's increase of 0.4%. Follow Melanie Evans on Twitter: @MHmevans