Hospital prices fell 0.1% in January compared to a year ago, the first such decline in at least 23 years, according to the latest economic indicators from Altarum Institute's Center for Sustainable Health Spending. The Health Care Price Index was 1.2% higher than a year ago, approaching the decade-plus low of 1% registered in August 2013, the center said. “The big news is the first ever negative hospital price growth (-0.1%), along with the historically low hospital price growth for Medicare (-2.9%) and ‘other’ payers (1.6%),” the center said. “In contrast, price growth for prescription drugs, at 5.6%, though down from 6.4% in December, is still the highest since May 2002.” The center estimates that national health spending grew 5% in calendar year 2014, and 5.7% in January compared with a year ago. The health sector added 23,800 new jobs in February, including 8,700 in hospitals, the center said.