Hospital prices barely moving

Prices for hospital services barely budged during the month of February, and are up only slightly over the past year, according to new data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

General medical and surgical hospitals reported an overall price increase of 0.1 percent last month. Compared to February 2011, prices were 1.9 percent higher.

The modest rise in hospital prices were significantly lower than the overall increase in the Producer Price Index, which grew an overall 0.4 percent in February and 3.3 percent for the entire year, reported the BLS. The rise was the smallest on an annual basis since August 2010.

The price increases for hospitals factor in actual or expected reimbursement for services rendered, according to AHA News Now.

Prices at physician offices also rose a modest 0.1 percent, the BLS reported. However, medical and diagnostic laboratories experienced a price drop of 0.2 percent.

The biggest cost rise in healthcare was at blood and organ banks, where prices increased 0.5 percent.

Cost concerns regarding healthcare delivery have been a concern in the United States since at least the Great Depression, according to the Associated Press.

To learn more:
- here's the BLS data
- read the AHA News article
- read the AP article