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Gun-related injuries come with billions in health care costs

Anjalee Khemlani
Senior Reporter

In addition to the human toll, gun violence comes with steep economic costs.

Firearm-related injuries carry a cost of $2.8 billion annually, according to a 2017 Health Affairs study. The estimate includes emergency room and hospital stay charges.

The mean per person cost was $5,254 for emergency department services, and a total of $95,887 for the total duration of the stay.

The study also found that the price tag is even higher when accounting for lost work and other factors, according to 2010 data. That comes to an annual total of $174 billion related to lost work, health care costs, criminal justice claims and decreased quality of life.

Privacy rules affect the ability to track patient data to get a more accurate look at the true cost. Among other limitations it identified, the study noted that the database it referenced simply provided the incidents and did not have enough information to follow patients after. That means that additional costs and factors such as “long-term outcomes, including recidivism, survival, or functional outcomes such as the quality of life,” as well as “subsequent readmissions, rehabilitation and the costs associated with lost work and productivity following a firearm-related injury.”

Emergency room entrance at night with ambulance

Addressing gun violence unfortunately is a politically charged matter, with numerous interest groups often asserting conflicting solutions.

“Like our nation, hospitals and health systems are increasingly looking for new ways to address the wave of violence that we are seeing,” the American Hospital Association president and CEO Rick Pollack said. “As with any other public health challenge, we will remain an engaged partner in both caring for and keeping our communities safe.”

Anjalee Khemlani is a reporter at Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter: @AnjKhem

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