Injuries From Falls Cost Medicare Almost As Much As Cancer Treatment

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Elizabeth Burns, MPH Health Scientist, Division of Unintentional Injury Prevention National Center for Injury Prevention and Control CDC

Elizabeth Burns MPH

Elizabeth Burns, MPH
Health Scientist, Division of Unintentional Injury Prevention
National Center for Injury Prevention and Control
CDC

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Falls are the leading cause of both fatal and non-fatal injuries among Americans aged 65 and older. In 2000, the direct cost of falls were estimated to be $179 million for fatal falls and $19 billion for non-fatal falls. Fall injuries and deaths are expected to rise as more than 10,000 Americans turn 65 each day. Within the next 15 years, the U. S. population of older Americans is anticipated to increase more than 50%, with the total number of older adults rising to 74 million by 2030.

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?

Response: We found that the direct cost of fatal falls in 2015 totaled over $637 million. Non-fatal falls cost Medicare over $31 billion.

MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?

Response: Falls are common and costly. Every second an older American falls. Medicare spends over $31 billion on the treatment of non-fatal falls. This is almost as costly as cancer which cost Medicare $36 billion in 2015. Non-fatal falls that require medical attention cost an average of $10,000 and falls that require hospitalization cost more than $30,000 per fall. As the U.S. population ages we can expect the cost of falls to surge unless preventive measures are broadly adopted.

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Response: There are many clinical fall prevention strategies that have been proven to reduce falls and fall related injury in research settings. Researchers should investigate how these strategies can improve the quality of care given to the patient and reduce healthcare costs.

MedicalResearch.com: Thank you for your contribution to the MedicalResearch.com community.

Citation:

The direct costs of fatal and non-fatal falls among older adults — United States 

Elizabeth R. Burns, ,Judy A. Stevens,Robin Lee

Journal of Safety Research

Available online 28 May 2016

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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