I thought this was interesting so I wanted to share it with our readers.
The United States lives to some degree under the specter of the gun, and by extension so do its medical providers. It is a sobering fact but also one that could mean an opportunity for hospitals.
There are hundreds of emergency physicians and surgeons in Los Angeles and New York alone who cut their teeth on saving and trying to save gunshot victims during the 1980s when the murder rates were five times what they are today. And while the murder rate has dipped dramatically, guns remain all over the place and the price tag for treating their victims is sky high.
A new report by the Urban Institute estimates that the cost of treating gunshot wounds in hospitals was about $669.2 million in 2010. It focused on the direct hospital costs in six states–Arizona, California, Maryland, New Jersey, North Carolina and Wisconsin. All had above-average rates for robberies committed by a gun. Arizona and North Carolina also had above-average rates for aggravated assault with guns.
Hospitals in those six states spent $136.8 million treating those victims, including $87.4 million in California alone. And on average, more than 78 percent of those victims either were insured by Medicaid or had no coverage at all.
Where is the opportunity for hospitals? In providing those always hard-to-define community benefits.