6 things to know about Las Vegas shooting victims' medical expenses

Nearly a month has passed since the Las Vegas mass shooting, and survivors are now facing an array of medical expenses in the aftermath.

Here are six things to know.

1. Garen Wintemute, MD, a gun violence researcher at the University of California-Davis, told Kaiser Health News total medical care costs related to the attack could reach tens of millions of dollars.

2. Specifically, Ted Miller, MD, a violence incidence researcher at the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation, estimated at least $600 million in lifetime health costs for survivors.

3. KHN cites a Health Affairs study showing the average emergency department bill for an individual gunshot victim was $5,254 and the average inpatient charge was nearly $96,000. The study found these charges result in approximately $2.8 billion in ED and inpatient charges annually.

4. In an Oct. 12 letter, U.S. Sens. Dean Heller, R-Nev., and Catherine Cortez Masto, D-Nev., asked America's Health Insurance Plans and Blue Cross Blue Shield to "do whatever they can to assist the victims and their families during this difficult time."

"Given that Las Vegas is a top tourist destination visited by nearly 43 million visitors each year, many of the festival's attendees traveled from out of state to be at the event.  As such, we fear that victims of this tragedy currently seeking badly-needed healthcare in the community could be hit with costly, out-of-network charges. It is our hope that insurance companies will fully comply with the spirit of the Public Health Service Act and do whatever they can to support recovering families and waive any charges that may typically apply," the lawmakers wrote.

"Furthermore, we encourage insurers to consider additional initiatives that may ease the costly burden of healthcare for victims of this tragedy."

5. Many organizations have stepped up to help cover victims' medical expenses. For instance, Las Vegas-based University Medical Center of Southern Nevada has said it will use donations to help cover medical expenses for uninsured victims. The California Victim Compensation Board is also offering help to state residents affected by the Oct. 1 shooting. Additionally, Las Vegas-based Dignity Health-St. Rose Dominican has said it will cover the entire bill for injured victims.

6. GoFundMe accounts have also raised money for survivors, according to KHN.

Read the full report here.

 

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