Overall hospital prices declined 0.2% in December, and were 2.2% higher than a year ago, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported this week. Prices for the subgroup of general medical and surgical hospitals declined 0.2%, and were 2.1% higher than in December 2011, according to the BLS' Producer Price Indices, which measure average changes in selling prices received by domestic producers for their output. For hospitals, this translates into actual or expected reimbursement for a sample of treatments or services. The PPI for hospitals measure changes in actual or expected reimbursement received for services across the full range of payer types. This includes the negotiated contract rate from the payer plus any portion expected to be paid by the patient.