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

PLoS One. 2019 Jan 24;14(1):e0209896. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0209896. eCollection 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.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Child
  • Databases, Factual
  • Female
  • Firearms
  • Hospital Costs
  • Hospitalization / economics
  • Humans
  • Insurance
  • Length of Stay / economics
  • Male
  • Medicaid / economics
  • Medicare / economics
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Discharge / economics
  • Patient Readmission / economics*
  • Patient Readmission / trends
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • United States
  • Wounds, Gunshot / economics*
  • Wounds, Gunshot / epidemiology
  • Wounds, Gunshot / mortality

Grant support

Sarabeth A. Spitzer was funded by the Stanford Medical Scholars Research Program for this work.