Initial and Subsequent Hospital Costs of Firearm Injuries

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Initial and Subsequent Hospital Costs of Firearm Injuries

Category: Costs, Injury|Journal: Journal of Trauma|Author: G Wintemute, M Wright|Year: 1992

Objective

To provide economic, epldemiologic, and clinical data on initial and subsequent hospitalizations for firearm injuries.

Design

Nonconcurrent prospective study; data obtained by medical records review.

Setting

Public university teaching hospital, designated a level I trauma center.

Subjects

Two hundred fifty persons first hospitalized for firearm injuries at UC Davis Medical Center, Sacramento, between January 1, 1984, and June 30, 1985, and followed by medical records review to June 30, 1989.

Results

The aggregate hospital charge for 250 firearm injuries, exclusive of professional fees, was $3,745,496, of which 80% was borne directly or indirectly by public funds. The charge for initial hospitalizations was $3,297,506. Mean and median initial charges per case were $13,190 and $5,996 respectively; range, $787-$494, 152. The five patients with charges over $100,000 accounted for 33% of all charges; 36% of all patient days were attributable to the eight patients with hospitalizations lasting more than 30 days. Thirty-one patients were rehospitalized a total of 71 times; charges for rehospitalization totaled $447,990. Three fourths of all charges resulted from handgun injuries.

Conclusions

The costs for hospital treatment of firearm injuries are substantial. Avoiding prolonged hospitalization may be helpful in controlling these costs, but will be difficult to achieve. Primary prevention of firearm injuries may be the most effective cost-control measure.

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