By Lynne Adkins

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Emergency room doctors are the gatekeepers for cost in hospitals, according to a new survey.

Admissions from the ER have increased 17-percent over the past several years and that’s the largest growth area in hospital admissions, according to a new report from the RAND Corporation.

Dr. Wes Fields, chairman of the Emergency Medicine Action Fund, says for this reason, administrators and ER doctors must work together.

“Hospital inpatient costs represent the single largest slice of the pie,” Fields said. “It’s 31-percent of all health care expenditures. We think the most important message is that we’re ideally positioned to reduce inpatient costs and to identify a fairly large subset of patients who need aggressive evaluation and treatment, but may not need a hospital stay.”

The report also finds that increased admissions is highest among those 65 and older.

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