Inpatient and outpatient hospital consumer prices increased rapidly last month. Inpatient prices climbed 1%, only the seventh time since 2003 that the monthly index has captured an increase of 1% or more. A year ago, hospital inpatient consumer prices decreased 0.3%. Outpatient hospital prices increased 0.7% last month compared with 0.4% for the same month the prior year.
Consumer prices for physician services were flat last month, the seasonally adjusted figures show, compared with a 0.1% rise in January and a drop of 0.3% for the same month the prior year. For the 12 months ended in February, physician service consumer prices increased 2.5% compared with 1.3% the prior year.
Meanwhile, the acute-care hospitals Producer Price Index, which captures reimbursement rates paid to hospitals, increased 0.7% after the prior month's more modest gain of 0.1%, according to preliminary figures. The Producer Price Index a year ago February was flat.
During the year ended last month, the Producer Price Index for acute-care hospitals increased 2.5%, the preliminary figures show, which was also the same gain for the prior 12 months.
The preliminary Producer Price Index for physician offices increased 0.2% in February following January's 0.4% gain. In the year ended last month, the index increased 1% compared with 1.5% the prior year.