Healthcare Business News

Acute-care hospital prices flat in January

By Melanie Evans
Posted: February 19, 2014 - 12:15 pm ET

Acute-care hospital prices as measured by the Producer Price Index were nearly flat in January, federal data show.

Hospital prices increased 0.1% last month, according to preliminary figures, compared with 0.7% during the same month a year ago. The Producer Price Index is the broader of two inflation measures released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. It gauges the change in reimbursement paid to hospitals. The Consumer Price Index, an alternative measure of inflation that generally looks at retail price inflation, tracks changes in commercial insurance reimbursement. Figures for the Consumer Price Index are expected to be released Thursday.

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During the 12 months that ended in January, acute-care hospital prices increased 1%, the preliminary figure shows, compared with an increase of 2.9% the prior year.

The Producer Price Index for physician offices increased 0.3% in January, based on a preliminary figure. That's slightly slower than the 0.5% in January 2013. For the year that ended in January, a slowdown in physician prices continued with an increase of 0.1% compared with 0.5% the prior year.

Follow Melanie Evans on Twitter: @MHmevans

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