CDC Estimates Annual Cost of Accidental Injuries at $117 Billion
Injuries caused by falls, motor vehicle crashes and other accidents each year cost the U.S. economy $117 billion, or about 10% of U.S. medical spending, according to a CDC report released Thursday in its Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, Reuters/Houston Chronicle reports. For the report, the CDC examined data from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey, which includes insurance and out-of-pocket cost information for 25,000 people who received medical care in 2000. The survey found that 44.7 million people, or 16% of the population, were treated for at least one injury. In addition, the CDC examined data from the National Health Accounts survey, which includes medical spending information about members of the military and people who are institutionalized. The CDC report found that of the $117 billion in annual costs attributed to accidental injuries, falls account for at least 33% of the total cost, and motor vehicle accidents account for at least 18% of costs. CDC Director Dr. Julie Gerberding said that the agency's cost estimate is low, adding, "When we add in productivity losses, decreased quality of life and the emotional toll that injuries and disabilities have on families, the problem is enormous." She added, "Motor vehicle crashes, homicides, suicide and debilitating falls are so common that unfortunately, many have accepted that injury is inevitable." Injuries are the leading cause of death among people who are under 35 years old and the fourth leading cause of death among the entire population, according to the CDC (Reuters/Houston Chronicle, 1/16). The report is available online.This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.