Report: ED Physicians Key to Reducing Healthcare Costs

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The evolving role of emergency departments has made ED physicians key players for hospitals aiming to reduce total costs, according to a report from the RAND Corporation.

Many patients are now admitted to the hospital directly from the ED. In 2009, U.S. hospitals admitted 2.7 million more patients from EDs and 1.6 million fewer from physicians' offices and other outpatient settings than in 2003. Due to this trend, ED physicians are now the major decision-makers for half of all hospital admissions.

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Because the average cost of a hospital stay is about 10 times the cost of an ED visit, ED physicians' decisions on which patients to admit can have a significant impact on a hospital's bottom line, as well as the country's healthcare spending—inpatient care currently represents 31 percent of the nation's healthcare costs.

"This report tells policymakers and hospital administrators that they should pay closer attention to the role that emergency physicians play in evaluating, managing and preventing hospital admissions," said Andy Sama, MD, president of the American College of Emergency Physicians, in a news release.

More Articles on Reducing Costs:

Price Caps for ED and Out-of-Network Care: The Next Step to Reign in Hospital Costs?
The Most Expensive Hospital in America
AHA President: What Hospitals Charge Rarely Reflects What They Are Paid

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