Hospital readmissions for gun injuries cost $86M each year, Stanford study says

On average, taxpayers, private insurers and uninsured families spent $86 million on hospital readmissions for firearm injury patients from 2010-15, according to a study from the Stanford (Calif.) University School of Medicine.

For the study, led by Sarabeth Spitzer, a fourth-year medical student at Stanford, researchers examined six years of data from the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project's Nationwide Readmissions Database. They found 93 percent of patients admitted to the hospital with firearm injuries — or 155,574 patients — survived.

Of those patients, 15.6 percent were readmitted at least once within six months of their initial stay, for a total of more than 33,000 hospital readmissions from 2010-15.

"So often, gun injuries are talked about in terms of mortality, as one-time events for medical care," Ms. Spitzer said in a news release. "What tends to be forgotten are the long-term effects these injuries have on the people who survive and the monetary costs to the healthcare system."

During the study period, researchers found the average annual cost of hospitalizations for gun injuries was $911 million. Medicaid and other government programs covered 45 percent of the bill, according to the report.

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