Envision Healthcare recently released a white paper addressing the public health epidemic of firearm-related injury and death.
Envision Healthcare Evaluates Clinical Solutions to Address Firearm-Related Injury and Death
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Envision Healthcare, a leading national medical group, today released a white paper presenting a multidisciplinary, multi-faceted approach to address the public health epidemic of firearm-related injury and death. Envision clinicians have been on the frontlines, providing patients lifesaving care, consoling family members and supporting communities during firearm-related incidents and mass shootings throughout the years. As part of providing comprehensive care and supporting the health and safety of patients, clinicians are identifying ways they can help prevent firearm-related injury and death.
Firearm violence, including homicides and suicides, has been increasing in recent years. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 45,222 people in the U.S. died from firearms in 2020 and 48,830 died in 2021. As of May 1, 2023, at least 13,959 people in the U.S. have lost their lives to firearms according to the Gun Violence Archive. Clinicians are positioned to make meaningful clinical interventions and are looking to address the national health emergency by applying scientific and public health principles without infringing on constitutional rights and protections.
“Firearm violence is a public health epidemic that impacts everyone, and we all play a role in addressing it,” said Joshua A. Bloomstone, MD, MSc, FASA, Senior Vice President of Clinical Innovation and Practice Transformation at Envision. “As clinicians, we’re entrusted with the health and safety of patients, and we have a responsibility to protect our communities and can do so by developing clinical practices that support the prevention of firearm-related incidents. We believe that if the principles of Firearm Health are widely applied, avoidable injuries and deaths could be mitigated. Thank you to the clinicians and healthcare experts who have contributed to this white paper and ongoing efforts to improve community health.”
Historically, public health concerns like the COVID-19 pandemic, Smallpox, Polio, HIV, Ebola, Zika, tobacco use and opioid misuse and abuse have been acknowledged, investigated and mitigated by a robust and scientifically based public health response. With a focus on education, safety and the incorporation of Firearm Health into health maintenance, Envision, in collaboration with national healthcare leaders, is examining approaches to prevent firearm-related injury and death in the U.S. The approach is based on nationally and globally endorsed positions, outlined in the following tenets:
- Firearm-related injuries and deaths are a crisis of health, and clinicians have an ethical and professional responsibility to treat it as they would any other serious public health threat.
- Adequate and unrestricted federal funding for firearm injury prevention research is needed.
- Interventions intended to prevent firearm-related injury and death must be evidence-based and tailored to the needs of citizens, families and communities and respectful to their status as firearm owners or non-owners.
- Existing laws regarding firearms should be enforced.
- Affordable mental health services should be immediately available to those at risk of perpetrating firearm-related harms and those exposed to firearm-related violence.
- Individuals with mental illness must not be stigmatized. Generally speaking, mental illness does not increase the risk of hurting others. Indeed, persons suffering from mental illness are more likely to be victims of violence than perpetrators.
- Clinician education is needed to increase awareness of risks, benefits and options related to firearm storage, carriage, handling and use. When relevant to the health encounter and potentially beneficial to individual, family and/or community health outcomes, clinicians can and should address these options with their patients directly and advise accordingly. Patient-centric education is the cornerstone concept of Firearm Health.
- When appropriate, clinicians should publicly advocate for their patients and communities to improve health outcomes, including the reduction of firearm-related injuries and deaths.
Envision is committed to preventing firearm-related injury and death to protect patients, families and communities by:
- Making educational materials available to clinicians, patients and clinical support teams where appropriate.
- Participating in the development of national clinical quality measures aimed at reducing avoidable firearm injury.
- Encouraging dialogue about the misuse of firearms to perpetrate violence through employee active shooter event training.
- Providing counseling and opportunities to support friends and colleagues who may experience psychological trauma when caring for patients of firearm-related tragedies.
The full firearm injury prevention white paper is available here.
About Envision Healthcare Corporation
Envision Healthcare Corporation is a leading national medical group that delivers physician and advanced practice provider services, primarily in the areas of emergency and hospitalist medicine, anesthesiology, radiology/teleradiology and neonatology. As a leader in ambulatory surgical care, AMSURG holds ownership in more than 250 surgery centers with medical specialties ranging from gastroenterology to ophthalmology and orthopedics. In total, the medical group offers a differentiated suite of clinical solutions on a national scale with a local understanding of our communities, creating value for health systems, payers, providers and patients. For additional information, visit www.envisionhealth.com.