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Acute-care hospital PPI edges up


By Melanie Evans
Posted: August 15, 2014 - 12:30 pm ET
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The Producer Price Index for acute-care hospitals climbed 0.1% last month after three months of flat or declining prices, the latest federal data show. Physician prices were flat.

The numbers mirror the overall sluggish growth in healthcare prices. Healthcare inflation overall has edged upward in recent months, though price growth remained near an all-time low in June, based on the Altarum Institute's 12-month moving average.

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The July figures, released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, are one of two widely cited measures of inflation. The most-recent four months' figures are preliminary. July's modest uptick in acute-care hospital prices follows June's 0.1% decline and stagnant prices in May and April.

During the 12 months that ended in July, prices increased 1.6%, the preliminary data show, compared with 1.7% the prior year.

The physician office Producer Price Index was flat in July for the second month in a row. The unchanged physician office prices continues a trend of weak price growth for physicians in recent years. For the year that ended in July, physician office prices increased 0.4% compared with 0.2% the prior year.

Follow Melanie Evans on Twitter: @MHmevans


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