The nonwhite gun crime plague which is rapidly reducing Chicago to a tribal war zone has racked up nearly half a billion dollars in hospital bills alone in the last six and a half years—with American taxpayers picking up the bill, according to a new analysis by the Chicago Tribune.
According to that newspaper, the initial medical costs for treating victims of the black and Hispanic crime plague totals tens of millions of dollars each year.
The publication analyzed data from the Illinois Department of Public Health, which collects patient information from hospitals. Tribune obtained the data after months of negotiations as patient data is exempted from the Freedom of Information Act. Sensitive information, such as individual hospital names, was censored.
Here are the top five findings.
Gunshot costs per minute. Tribune found treating a gunshot wound in mid-2016 cost around $21,000 for the first 35 minutes of care.
True costs of gun violence. Data showed Chicago-area hospitals billed more than $447 million to treat about 12,000 documented victims of gun violence between 2009 and mid-2016.
But even this figure is not representative of the true financial costs to gunshot victims. The $447 million includes hospital charges incurred for room and board as well as equipment and drugs during the initial hospital visit.
However, it does not include charges from surgeons, anesthesiologists and other medical professionals who treat victims in emergency situations, and often bill separately. It also doesn’t account for long-term costs associated with recovery and rehabilitation, such as follow-up care, physical therapy or mental health treatment.
Rising hospital costs. The data also indicated a steady increase in hospital charges over the seven-and-a-half-year period. In 2009, gunshot inpatients averaged $57,963 in charges for their hospital stay. By mid-2016, gunshot inpatients racked up $93,647 on average.
The greatest burden falls on taxpayers. In Chicago, the data confirmed gun violence is skewed along racial and socio-economic divides.
Nearly half of the amount for treating inpatients of gun violence between 2009 and mid-2016, or about $201 million, was billed to taxpayer-funded programs, most often Medicaid and sometimes Medicare. Less than 25 percent was billed through commercial insurance ($93 million). Self-pay accounted for $101 million.
Average charges per gunshot inpatient in Chicago in mid-2016. Charges are based on average length of stay of 9.55 days.
• Room and board — $24,849
• Operating room — $15,551
• Pharmacy — $15,028
• Radiology — $6,935
• Lab — $6,506
• Anesthesiology — $4,093
• Ancillary charges — $68,799.