Readmission risk and costs of firearm injuries in the United States, 2010-2015

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Readmission risk and costs of firearm injuries in the United States, 2010-2015

Category: Costs, Injury|Journal: PLoS ONE (full text)|Author: C Rajasingh, D Spain, D Vail, L Tennakoon, S Spitzer, T Weiser|Year: 2019

Background
In 2015 there were 36,252 firearm-related deaths and 84,997 nonfatal injuries in the United States. The longitudinal burden of these injuries through readmissions is currently underestimated. We aimed to determine the 6-month readmission risk and hospital costs for patients injured by firearms.

Methods
We used the Nationwide Readmission Database 2010–2015 to assess the frequency of readmissions at 6 months, and hospital costs associated with readmissions for patients with firearm-related injuries. We produced nationally representative estimates of readmission risks and costs.

Results
Of patients discharged following a firearm injury, 15.6% were readmitted within 6 months. The average annual cost of inpatient hospitalizations for firearm injury was over $911 million, 9.5% of which was due to readmissions. Medicare and Medicaid covered 45.2% of total costs for the 5 years, and uninsured patients were responsible for 20.1%.

Conclusions
From 2010–2015, the average total cost of hospitalization for firearm injuries per patient was $32,700, almost 10% of which was due to readmissions within 6 months. Government insurance programs and the uninsured shouldered most of this.

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