Orlando hospitals won't bill victims of Pulse nightclub shooting

Orlando Health and Florida Hospital vowed to not bill survivors of the Pulse nightclub shooting for out-of-pocket medical costs, writing off a combined $5.5 million, reported Orlando Sentinel.

On June 12, a gunman entered the Orlando, Fla.-based LGBT nightclub and started shooting, killing 49 and leaving 53 injured. As the only Level I trauma center in central Florida, Orlando Health's Orlando Regional Medical Center treated 44 of the victims.

While bills will be sent to health insurers for patients with coverage, Orlando Health will absorb any additional costs not covered by the survivors' policies, said spokeswoman Kena Lewis. In addition, the system will not charge the families of nine victims who died shortly after arriving at ORMC. Orlando Health expects to write off a minimum of $5 million in unreimbursed care.

Florida Hospital treated 12 patients after the shooting. Officials said they won't even bill the victims' insurance for treatment, or for any additional follow-up surgeries that may be needed. The health system will absorb more than $525,000 in costs.

"The pulse shooting was a horrendous tragedy for the victims, their families and our entire community," said David Strong, president and CEO of Orlando Health, according to the report. "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."

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