Two hospitals in the Orlando area are waiving the medical bills for victims of the Pulse nightclub shooting.
On the night of June 12, 49 people we killed and more than 50 wounded when gunman Omar Mateen opened fire inside the gay nightclub.
Orlando Regional Medical Center treated 44 victims of the shooting, which, according to NPR, is more than any other hospital in the area. The hospital’s parent company, Orlando Health, said in a statement that patients from the shooting will receive free medical care.
“Instead, the hospital will look at federal and state funds, victims’ funds like the One Orlando fund, and private funds raised for victims,” Abe Aboraya of WMFE reported. “The hospital will bill insurance if a patient has it, but it will not go after a patient’s copays.”
“The same goes for the nine patients who came to the hospital and died,” he added.
“During this very trying time, many organizations, individuals, and charities have reached out to Orlando Health to show their support,” Orlando Health CEO David Strong said. “This is simply our way of paying that kindness forward.”
Florida Hospital will also be waiving fees for the 12 victims it treated.
According to Aboraya’s report, “the hospital has gone a step further, saying it will not bill insurance either, and any continuing care patients need will also be free of charge.”
Writing for The Stranger, Dan Savage said that this is “a feel bad story disguised as a feel good story,” and that shooting victims facing massive medical bills in the first place is “an indictment of our society.”
“There are people who were shot in Orlando around the same time, maybe even on the same night (this is America), who are also facing crushing medical bills,” Savage writes. “But their bills won’t be forgiven. … Are they less deserving of our support?”
About $5 million in unreimbursed costs will be absorbed by Orlando Regional Medical Center. Florida Hospital will absorb $535,400 in expenses.
Featured image via Fibonacci Blue (Flickr)