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December 1996, Vol. 118, No. 12

Revision of the CPI hospital services component

Elaine M. Cardenas
Economist, Office of Prices and Living Conditions, Bureau of Labor Statistics

Upcoming modifications are designed to capture current service delivery patterns, reimbursement methods, and payment sources for hospital visits, rather than what the hospital charges for individual treatment inputs; the result will be an index that better reflects price changes in the dynamic health care field. This article first outlines the changes that will be made to the ‘hospital services’ index, and the likely benefits of these changes. Next, it discusses the immediate impact of the changes on CPI data users and on field collection activities. And finally, it explains where the changes position the CPI relative to future industry developments and alternative methods for measuring hospital price movement. (Changes in the measurement of nursing home price movement are not covered here.)

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