Arizona shooting victims worry about bills

TUCSON, Feb. 4 (UPI) -- Victims of the Tucson shooting massacre wounded along with U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords say they are concerned about paying mounting medical bills.

"I wondered, 'How much is this going to cost me?'" gunshot victim Randy Gardner said.


"It was a thought that went through my head right away," Gardner said, The New York Times reported Friday.

After the initial adrenaline and focus on patient care ebbs, the topic of payment for services inevitably comes to the fore for both victim and healthcare provider.

"We have to recover our costs so that we can provide the service to others," said Craig Yale, vice president of corporate development for Air Methods Corp., which operates LifeNet helicopter service in Tucson, one of three private helicopter operators called to the shooting scene.

The Times reported the majority of the 13 people wounded in that morning's shooting rampage did have health insurance, which they expect to cover the bulk of the medical costs.

But even with the best of plans, there are still deductibles and out-of-pocket costs.

Federal charges have been filed against the accused shooter, Jared Lee Loughner, which means state victim-compensation money will be augmented by federal help, the Times said.


Additionally, private charitable efforts say they will help as best they can.

"My fund is too small to cover their medical bills," said Carol Gaxiola, director of Homicide Survivors. "But we'll be able to pitch in to cover other costs."

Ron Barber, district director for Giffords' congressional office who was hit twice in the shooting, expressed concern for the other victims.

"It's obvious that those of us who were shot are victims, but there are others," he said. "I don't know anyone who didn't have medical coverage, but I'm interested in making sure no one continues to suffer from this."

Latest Headlines