Gun violence in the United States has reached alarming highs in recent years. Nearly 50,000 people lost their lives to guns in 2021, and guns are now the leading cause of death for children, teens, and young adults across the country. Gun violence also has a disproportionate impact on young Black men — and on people of color in general.
Gun violence’s toll is human and financial: about $1 billion is spent each year treating gunshot wounds, more than 50 percent of which is paid by Medicaid. Those who survive shootings bear the medical and psychological complications their entire lives, and consequences reverberate through families and communities. Many victims of gun violence are Medicaid-eligible, yet coordinated hand-offs among Medicaid agencies, health plans, providers, and community-based organizations are often lacking. This inaction at early critical moments often leads to worse outcomes (and increased expense) downstream. But there are emerging, evidence-based ways to address gun violence, most notably hospital-based violence intervention programs (HVIPs).
This panel discussion brought together clinicians, practitioners, and community leaders — representing national and local perspectives from Chicago, Connecticut, and Philadelphia — to discuss how the integration of gun violence prevention and Medicaid can create better outcomes for patients, savings for payers and systems, and safer communities. Leaders in the field of violence prevention, as well as experts in health care and Medicaid, shared concrete examples of work underway, explored strategies for integration, and discussed obstacles and opportunities for progress.
I. Welcome and Introduction
Speakers: Allison Hamblin, MSPH, President and Chief Executive Officer, Center for Health Care Strategies (CHCS), and Estelle Richman, Executive Director, Civic Coalition to Save Lives and Chair, CHCS Board of Trustees
A. Hamblin welcomed participants and introduced E. Richman who gave an overall introduction and insights into her work in Philadelphia.
II. Overview of Violence Intervention and HVIPs
Speaker: John Rich, MD, MPH, Director, RUSH BMO Institute for Health Equity and Member, CHCS Board of Trustees
J. Rich gave an overview of HVIPs as a gun violence prevention strategy, shared insights from his research and clinical experience, and highlighted the importance of linking HVIPs and other reimbursable strategies with Medicaid.
III. Community-Based Interventions and Medicaid Solutions
Moderator: E. Richman
E. Richman facilitated a discussion exploring opportunities to strengthen gun violence interventions in partnership with Medicaid. The panelists began with a brief overview of their work in the field and were joined by J. Rich as well as A. Hamblin.
- Kyle Fischer, MD, MPH, Policy Director, Health Alliance for Violence Intervention
- Jayeti Newbold, PhD, Director of Strategic Initiatives, READI Chicago
- Brad Richards, MD, MBA, Chief Medical Officer, Connecticut Department of Social Services
IV. Moderated Q&A
Moderators: A. Hamblin