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Cost of hospitalization for firearm injuries by firearm type, intent, and payer in the United States

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      Abstract

      Background

      Firearm injuries disproportionately affect young, male, non-White populations, causing substantial individual and societal burden. Annual costs for hospitalized firearm injuries have not been widely described, as most previous cost studies have focused on lifetime costs. We examined a nationally-representative database of hospitalizations in the US to estimate per-hospital and overall hospital costs for firearm injuries by intent, type of weapon, and payer source.

      Methods

      We conducted a retrospective cohort study of all firearm injury hospitalizations in the National Inpatient Sample from 2003 through 2013. The National Inpatient Sample, maintained by the Healthcare Utilization Project, is a stratified and weighted national sample of more than 20% of all hospitals. All admissions for firearm injuries were identified through Ecodes, yielding a weighted total of 336,785 for the study period. Average annual per-patient and overall hospital costs were estimated using generalized linear modelling, controlling for patient and hospital variables. Costs by intent, firearm type, and payer sources were estimated.

      Results

      Annually from 2003 through 2013, 30,617 hospital admissions were for firearm injuries, for an annual rate of 10.1 admissions per 100,000 US population. More than 80% of hospitalizations were among individuals aged 15–44, and rates were nine times higher for males than females and nearly ten times higher for the Black than the White population. More than 60% of admissions were for assaults, and 70% of the injuries that had a known firearm type were from handguns. The average annual admission cost was $622 million. The highest per-admission costs were for injuries from assault weapons ($32,237 per admission) and for legal intervention ($33,462 per admission), but the highest total costs were for unspecific firearm type ($373 million) and assaults ($389 million). A quarter of firearm injury hospitalizations were among the uninsured, yielding average annual total costs of $155 million.

      Conclusion

      Hospitals can project that government insurance will be the highest source for firearm injury reimbursement, and depending on healthcare access laws, that many of their firearm injury admissions will not be covered by insurance.

      Related collections

      Most cited references 21

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      Violent Death Rates: The US Compared with Other High-income OECD Countries, 2010.

      Violent death is a serious problem in the United States. Previous research showing US rates of violent death compared with other high-income countries used data that are more than a decade old.
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        Medical costs and productivity losses due to interpersonal and self-directed violence in the United States.

        Violence-related injuries, including suicide, adversely affect the health and welfare of all Americans through premature death, disability, medical costs, and lost productivity. Estimating the magnitude of the economic burden of violence is critical for understanding the potential amount of resources that can be saved if cost-effective violence prevention efforts can be broadly applied. From 2003 to 2005, the lifetime medical costs and productivity losses associated with medically treated injuries due to interpersonal and self-directed violence occurring in the United States in 2000 were assessed. Several nationally representative data sets were combined to estimate the incidence of fatal and nonfatal injuries due to violence. Unit medical and productivity costs were computed and then multiplied by corresponding incidence estimates to yield total lifetime costs of violence-related injuries occurring in 2000. The total costs associated with nonfatal injuries and deaths due to violence in 2000 were more than $64.8 [corrected] billion. Most of this cost ($64.4 billion or 92%) was due to lost productivity. However, an estimated $5.6 billion was spent on medical care for the more than 2.5 million injuries due to interpersonal and self-directed violence. The burden estimates reported here provide evidence of the large health and economic burden of violence-related injuries in the U.S. But the true burden is likely far greater and the need for more research on violence surveillance and prevention are discussed.
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          Firearm injuries in the United States.

          This paper examines the epidemiology of fatal and nonfatal firearm violence in the United States. Trends over two decades in homicide, assault, self-directed and unintentional firearm injuries are described along with current demographic characteristics of victimization and health impact.
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            Author and article information

            Affiliations
            [1 ]ISNI 0000 0004 1936 8294, GRID grid.214572.7, The Department of Occupational and Environmental Health, , College of Public Health, University of Iowa, ; 145 North Riverside Drive, S143 CPHB, Iowa City, IA 52242 USA
            [2 ]ISNI 0000 0004 1936 8294, GRID grid.214572.7, The Department of Biostatistics, , College of Public Health, University of Iowa, ; Iowa City, Iowa USA
            Contributors
            ORCID: http://orcid.org/0000-0001-9472-2538, (319) 335-4895 , Corinne-peek-asa@uiowa.edu
            Brandon-butcher@uiowa.edu
            joe-cavanaugh@uiowa.edu
            Journal
            Inj Epidemiol
            Inj Epidemiol
            Injury Epidemiology
            Springer International Publishing (Cham )
            2197-1714
            19 July 2017
            19 July 2017
            December 2017
            : 4
            28721637
            5515719
            120
            10.1186/s40621-017-0120-0
            © The Author(s). 2017

            Open AccessThis article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.

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            © The Author(s) 2017

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