Firearm Injuries Have Cost Nevada Hospitals Almost $246 Million Over the Last Decade; Taxpayers Pay More than Half of Costs through Public Insurers, Charity
NEW YORK – A new analysis of state inpatient hospitalization data released today by the Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund reveals that Nevada taxpayers pay a heavy price for gun violence in the Silver State.
Apart from the human suffering resulting from gun injuries, the medical care necessary to treat firearm injuries costs Nevada millions of taxpayer dollars each year. Over the last decade, firearm injuries have cost Nevada hospitals nearly $246 million, including more than $40 million in 2014.
“While thousands of Nevadans know the toll of gun violence personally – whether they’re survivors themselves or their loved ones have been shot and killed – every Nevadan taxpayer pays the price for the near-daily toll of gun violence in the state,” said Ted Alcorn, Research Director for Everytown for Gun Safety. “This analysis shows that Nevadans foot the bill for tens of millions of dollars’ worth of healthcare every year for injuries that are entirely preventable.”
Among the findings of the analysis are:
- Treating Firearm Injuries Costs Nevada Millions of Taxpayer Dollars: Firearm injuries have cost Nevada hospitals almost $246 million over the last ten years — including more than $40 million in 2014. And hospital costs likely represent a small fraction of the total societal cost of gun violence to Nevadans, which also includes apprehending and incarcerating offenders, lost wages, and the pain and suffering of survivors.
- Hospitalizations for Gun Violence are Common: Over the last ten years, there were at least 2,389 inpatient admissions as a result of firearm injuries in Nevada — an average of 239 a year.
- The Public Pays Most of the Cost: More than half of the costs of hospitalizations for firearm injuries were charged to public insurers, such as Medicare and Medicaid or paid through charity, costing taxpayers more than $13.3 million in an average year.
- Victims of Gun Violence Require More Hospital Care than Victims of Other Violent Injuries: Hospitalizations for firearm-related injuries result in almost twice the average charges per incident ($104,228) as hospitalizations from stabbing injuries ($53,502).
To conduct its analysis, the Everytown Support Fund obtained data from the Center for Health Information Analysis for Nevada on inpatient costs for all gunshot victims in hospitals and ambulatory surgical centers in Nevada between 2005 and 2014. CHIA is a research center under contract with the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services.
The data omit patients’ names but include a detailed accounting of each hospitalization including year; hospital name; the victim’s gender, race, and age group; type of primary payer; type of injury; and total charges. CHIA categorizes the incidents as accidental, assaultive, suicidal or unknown. And Everytown grouped payers into six groups: public insurers, private insurers, workers’ compensation, self-pay (in which the injured person was the primary payer or awaiting Medicaid or county coverage) and other types.
Next November, Nevadans will get a chance to vote up or down on a ballot measure that would require criminal background checks on all gun sales. Research shows that in states that require criminal background checks for every handgun sale, 48 percent fewer law enforcement officers are killed with handguns, 46 percent fewer women are shot to death by intimate partners, 48 percent fewer suicides and 52 percent fewer mass shootings.