The acute-care hospital Producer Price Index, one federal measure of inflation, increased 0.1% last month, preliminary figures show, slightly slower than the 0.2% average monthly growth during the prior year.
The Producer Price Index, released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, includes reimbursement rates paid to hospitals. The acute-care hospital index jumped 0.7% in February, the largest one-month increase since October 2011. Last month's more modest growth was identical to the 0.1% increase in March 2011. For the year that ended last month, the acute-care hospital index increased 2.6% compared with a 2.3% gain the prior 12 months.
The one-month change to the physician office Producer Price Index declined for the fourth time in the last year in March. Physician office prices dropped 0.7% last month after a 0.2% increase in February.