Gunshot Injuries Cost US Taxpayers Billions Interview with:
Sarabeth Spitzer

MD Candidate | MS2
Stanford University School of Medicine What is the background for this study?

Response: While firearm homicides make headlines, they cause many more injuries than deaths.[1] No one had performed any recent analysis on the costs of hospitalizations for firearm-related injuries. Stanford is a Level One trauma center, and we care for patients injured by firearms. We wanted to know how much it costs the health system to treat these patients. What are the main findings?

Response: We found that initial hospitalization costs totaled $6.61 billion dollars over the nine-year study period between 2006 and 2014, with annual costs of roughly $730 million. Over 40% of these costs were for patients covered by government insurance through Medicare and Medicaid, and another quarter of these costs were for uninsured patients. These costs underestimate the true financial impact of firearm injuries, as they do not include the costs of patients who were not admitted to the hospital, nor do they include follow-up costs associated with these injuries such as readmission, rehabilitation, long-term healthcare or disability. What should readers take away from your report?

Response: Firearm injuries are very costly to the United States healthcare system, and much of the financial burden falls on the government and uninsured individuals who have difficulty absorbing these costs. What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Response: We recommend that future research explore the additional costs of firearm injuries not captured in this study to give a more accurate representation of the financial burden of firearm injuries.

We hope the high cost burden of these injuries will stimulate additional research surrounding firearm injuries in the US, particularly aimed at public policy actions that might be able to reduce the number of injuries we see.

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Note: Content is Not intended as medical advice. Please consult your health care provider regarding your specific medical condition and questions.

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Last Updated on March 23, 2017 by Marie Benz MD FAAD