Wholesale prices for general medical and surgical hospitals rose 1.6% in October -- the biggest monthly increase ever recorded in the Producer Price Index since the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics began including hospitals in the index in December 1992. That boost in the PPI, which charts changes in revenues received by providers of goods or services across the nation, followed a more modest 0.1% increase for hospital prices in September. Brian Catron, a spokesman for the bureau, said traditional changes in Medicare pricing in October probably played a role in the record increase for hospitals. "If it were seasonally adjusted, it might balance out," he said. In each of the last two years, October has been the month with the greatest hospital PPI increase -- 1.1% in October 2002 and 0.6% in October 2001. Also, the monthly measure of pricing showed a slight decrease of about 0.1% for physicians' offices after a 0.2% increase for doctors in September. -- by Michael Romano
Record increase in October hospital PPI
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