Prices for doctor services up, but growth still lags overall inflation

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted May 28, 2012

Print  |   Email  |   Respond  |   Reprints  |   Like Facebook  |   Share Twitter  |   Tweet Linkedin

The amount of money spent by patients and insurers per physician service went up 0.3% in April and 1.4% for the 12 months prior, according to the monthly Consumer Price Index report issued May 15 by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The numbers were slightly higher than March but still off from inflation in the economy as a whole. The growth in the prices paid for physician services was 0.2% in March and 1.3% for the year running up to that month.

The overall inflation rate was zero for April and 2.3% for the previous 12 months. For March, the overall inflation rate was 0.3% and the annual rate was 2.6%.

The annual inflation rate for physician services has been below that for the general economy for 13 months running. The monthly rate has been lower for eight of the past 13 months.

Throughout the 1980s and the 1990s, prices paid for physician services outpaced inflation, and health policy experts say more recent trends are the result of the much-maligned sustainable growth rate formula used by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to set Medicare payments. Commercial payers usually follow the lead of the SGR.

Note: This item originally appeared at

Back to top



Read story

Confronting bias against obese patients

Medical educators are starting to raise awareness about how weight-related stigma can impair patient-physician communication and the treatment of obesity. Read story

Read story


American Medical News is ceasing publication after 55 years of serving physicians by keeping them informed of their rapidly changing profession. Read story

Read story

Policing medical practice employees after work

Doctors can try to regulate staff actions outside the office, but they must watch what they try to stamp out and how they do it. Read story

Read story

Diabetes prevention: Set on a course for lifestyle change

The YMCA's evidence-based program is helping prediabetic patients eat right, get active and lose weight. Read story

Read story

Medicaid's muddled preventive care picture

The health system reform law promises no-cost coverage of a lengthy list of screenings and other prevention services, but some beneficiaries still might miss out. Read story

Read story

How to get tax breaks for your medical practice

Federal, state and local governments offer doctors incentives because practices are recognized as economic engines. But physicians must know how and where to find them. Read story

Read story

Advance pay ACOs: A down payment on Medicare's future

Accountable care organizations that pay doctors up-front bring practice improvements, but it's unclear yet if program actuaries will see a return on investment. Read story

Read story

Physician liability: Your team, your legal risk

When health care team members drop the ball, it's often doctors who end up in court. How can physicians improve such care and avoid risks? Read story

  • Stay informed
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • RSS
  • LinkedIn