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Gun Injury Hospitalizations Drop 67% in CA

Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media, June 28, 2013

"If it's true that government payers pay less per patient, then for these cases coming in that are paid under government programs, that definitely may be a reimbursement issue for hospitals," she says.

That would mean that taxpayers paid about two-thirds of $110 million total cost of firearm injuries in 1992, and about two-thirds of $112 million total cost in 2010.

The report divides injuries according to type. The lion's share in each of the 20 years listed were shootings due to an assault, followed by unintentional shootings, self-inflicted gunshots, legal interventions (in which the injury was inflicted by law enforcement or military personnel on duty in the course of arresting or attempting to arrest lawbreakers or suppressing disturbances), and lastly, those shootings whose reason is unknown.

For example, in 2010, 2,654 of the 3,575 hospitalizations and 2,665 of the 4,755 emergency room visits were due to an assault with a firearm, such as in an armed robbery in which the gun went off and caused an injury. Unintentional shootings resulted in 548 people being hospitalized and 1,323 people being seen in an emergency department in 2010.

Over the 20 years, Medi-Cal—a combination of federal and state taxpayer funds—paid most of the cost, for example 37% of firearm injuries caused by assaults and 29.3% of the unintentional injuries. Other government payers paid 27.2% and 10.6% respectively.

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