Rising violent death rates in the United States, driven by increasing firearm homicide and suicide, puts attention on the role the health care sector plays in prevention and intervention. Kaiser Permanente leaders David Grossman, MD, MPH, and Bechara Choucair, MD, write about the role health care plays in addressing violence in an article published today in Health Affairs.
The article, “Violence and the U.S. Health Care Sector: Burden and Response,” is part of a package of articles in the publication focused on the issue of violence and health. Dr. Grossman is senior investigator with the Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute and senior associate medical director with Washington Permanente Medical Group, and Dr. Choucair is senior vice president and chief community health officer with Kaiser Permanente. The two doctors co-chair the Kaiser Permanente Task Force for Firearm Injury Prevention.
In their article, the physician leaders write that in 2017 violence resulted in about 2.3 million emergency department visits and 376,500 hospitalizations, with an estimated total medical cost of about $8.7 billion. Along with the health effects on patients and members of the community, the paper highlights workplace violence among health care workers, especially emergency room physicians, who are subjected to violence every day in the United States.
Drs. Grossman and Choucair explain how health care systems can respond, including screening and prevention in primary care settings, workplace violence prevention strategies, and models for community-based intervention programs.
“As the body of evidence grows to support interventions to prevent violence in the community, workplace, and home, policy makers and leaders in the health care sector must strive to understand not only the impacts of investments in violence prevention but also the return on those investments,” the doctors write in the article.
To read the complete article, visit the Health Affairs site. Join Dr. Grossman and other published authors who will speak at a Health Affairs “Violence and Health” event on Thursday, October 10, 2019. Register for the event or check out the live stream on the day of the event. Also check out Dr. Grossman’s physician leadership column on the topic.