Physician spending lags behind inflation

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted Jan. 30, 2012

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Overall medical care inflation grew more quickly than inflation for the cost of physician services and the economy as a whole, according to the monthly report on the consumer price index issued Jan. 19 by the Bureau of Labor Statistics

There was no inflation in the wider economy for November and December 2011, although price growth for the year was 3%. Prices paid for medical care escalated by 0.4% in November and December 2011, with an annual inflation rate of 3.5%.

The cost of hospital services went up 0.7% in November 2011 and 0.5% in December 2011, with an annual growth rate of 5.3%. Prices paid for professional services, a category that includes physicians, went up 0.2% in November 2011 and 0.3% in December 2011, with an annual inflation rate of 2.2%.

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