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Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

More than a dozen CEOs of major health systems sent a letter to Congressional leaders Wednesday calling for support of President Biden's proposal to fund $5 billion in hospital and community-based gun violence intervention programs.

Why it matters: The letter from some of the top health systems in the country — including CommonSpirit Health, RWJBarnabas Health, Sanford Health and Intermountain — comes as gun violence reaches critical levels.

  • In 2020, there were a record 43,559 firearms-related deaths and more than 39,000 additional injuries recorded. The country on pace to surpass records again this year.

The goal is “keeping the pressure on Washington” Michael Dowling, president and CEO of Northwell Health told Axios.

The big picture: Health care professionals have become increasingly vocal on the lack of tools to address the growing number of victims affected by gun violence in hospitals every day.

  • Many health systems are trying to implement their own intervention programs or apply for federal funding to research root causes of gun injuries.
  • In some cities, as many as 45% of patients with a history of violent injury return with another injury within the next five years, according to the letter to Congress.

Context: Gun violence is the least researched of the 30 leading causes of death, largely because Congress had banned such research.

  • But $25 million was made available last year, which caused a flood of interest among scientists and researchers to study gun injury research.

What they're saying: Dowling hopes his messaging on gun violence as a public health issue will get more of a collaborative effort with the public and lawmakers than years of divisive talks on gun control.

  • "Our stance from the health care industry is firearm injuries, no different than COVID-19, is not a political issue," Chethan Sathya, pediatric surgeon and the director of Northwell’s Center for Gun Violence Prevention, tells Axios.
  • "This is a combination of enough is enough, they want the violence to stop. They want unnecessary firearm injuries to stop," he added.

Go deeper

Jul 14, 2021 - Health

What to watch for during health care's Q2 earnings

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Corporate America is expecting big jumps in profits in the second quarter. That's especially the case in health care, an industry that hasn't really lost a lot of financial momentum throughout the coronavirus pandemic.

The bottom line: Health care spending is basically back to pre-COVID levels. Expect big numbers across the board.

NWA COVID-19 surge threatens to strain health care system

Data: Northwest Arkansas health care providers. Chart: Axios Visuals

Pictures sometimes tell the stories words can't.

Why it matters: As cases rise, so will the strain on the local health care system.

Details: These numbers are representative of Arkansas Children's Northwest, Community Clinic, Mercy Northwest Arkansas, Northwest Health, UAMS Northwest, Veterans Health Care System of the Ozarks and Washington Regional Medical Center.

Zoom out: COVID-19 cases statewide were up by 1,875 on Tuesday, the largest one-day increase in more than five months, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported.

  • The number of people hospitalized in Arkansas Tuesday was 815, the highest since February.
  • There were 313 patients in intensive care and 131 on ventilators.

Cam Patterson, UAMS chancellor, told the Associated Press that the increases are straining hospital resources.

The bottom line: Arkansas still has the highest COVID-19 case rate in the U.S., at 36 per 100,000 residents.

Of note: Gov. Asa Hutchinson extended his road trips and next week will travel to Mountain Home, Dumas, Heber Springs and Siloam Springs to try to convince the vaccine hesitant to get the shot.

Go deeper: Axios' national team continues to cover the issue from every angle:

Salt Lake City declares racism a public health crisis

Photo: Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Salt Lake City has declared racism a public health crisis after the city council and mayor adopted a joint resolution, pledging to eradicating racist policies.

The big picture: The resolution comes after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention declared racism a serious public health threat in April.