Cost of treating firearm injuries in US hospitals exceeds $1B annually: GAO

The initial treatment of firearm-related injuries in U.S. hospitals costs more than $1 billion per year, according to a Government Accountability Office report released July 14. 

For the report, the GAO analyzed hospital discharge data from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality related to the costs of treating firearm injuries. The data analyzed was from 2016 to 2017, the latest available at the time of the analysis.  

Each year, hospitals report about 30,000 inpatient stays and 50,000 emergency department visits for initial treatment of gun-related injuries, the GAO found. 

The GAO also found that up to 16 percent of survivors are readmitted at least once after the initial treatment, costing an additional $8,000 to $11,000 per patient. 

The GAO found that the cost of firearm-related injuries largely falls on Medicaid and other public coverage options.

Additionally, according to the GAO, the true annual cost of gun violence is likely higher than $1 billion because the total doesn't include all costs such as physician fees, long-term care, ambulance rides or mental health treatment. 

Access the full report here

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