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Florida Hospitals to Cover Medical Bills for Pulse Shooting Victims

Florida Hospitals to Cover Medical Bills for Pulse Shooting Victims


The health care providers have decided to extend amnesty to victims. 

Two Florida hospitals are absorbing medical costs incurred by victims of the Pulse nightclub shooting, the Orlando Sentinel reported Wednesday.

The June shooting ended the lives of 49 people and left 53 wounded when a lone gunman opened fire on the Orlando LGBT nightclub. More than 50 victims required immediate medical attention, including nine who died at area hospitals and one who remains hospitalized, according to the paper.

After witnessing the outpouring of kindness by community members following the shooting, Orlando Health and Florida Hospital decided not to bill survivors for out-of-pocket medical expenses, writing off an estimated $5.5 million in care, the Sentinel reported.

"The Pulse shooting was a horrendous tragedy for the victims, their families and our entire community," Orlando Health president and CEO David Strong told the paper. "During this very trying time, many organizations, individuals, and charities have reached out to Orlando Health to show their support. This is simply our way of paying that kindness forward."

Orlando Health's main hospital, Orlando Regional Medical Center, treated the majority of the Pulse victims, and their care cost $5 million. The company will bill insurers but will absorb whatever is not covered by them, according to the Sentinel.

Florida Hospital will foot its entire estimated $525,000 bill, not even charging insurance providers and covering all follow up-visits, the paper reported. "We hope this gesture can add to the heart and goodwill that defines Orlando," Daryl Tol, Florida Hospital's president and CEO, told the Sentinel.

The news came as relief to shooting survivors like Mario Lopez, 34, who was grazed by a bullet and injured his left side and elbow. "His seven-hour hospital visit left him with a new nightmare: a potential $20,000-bill," the Sentinel noted. Lopez told the paper he was relieved because he would have been unable to cover the bill.

Orlando Health officials told the paper they would try to work with patients who were unable to afford follow-up care. "While we can't assume the answer is free care forever, we will use our very generous charity and financial assistance policies" to help patients, spokeswoman Kena Lewis said.

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