ECHD picks up mass shooting bill

Medical Center Health System President and CEO Russell Tippin said during a phone interview on Wednesday morning that he wouldn’t be surprised if that amount surpassed $500,000.

“We felt like this was a right thing to do,” Tippin said. “We felt like it was something that we could do. We felt like everyone in our community would support this idea. So, we did it.”

Any charges that aren’t covered by the victims’ insurance will be absorbed by MCHS, a news release detailed. Those victims will not have to pay anything for the care they received.

Tippin said that he expects around $200,000 to $250,000 from insurance companies and then MCHS would cover the rest. He explained it was important to do something for the 14 victims of the mass shooting who went through treatment at Medical Center Hospital.

“This was a step for our board,” Tippin said. “It was a unanimous decision. It was really a no-brainer. Our board wanted to help these folks. We want to make sure that their part of being a victim doesn’t cause them a burden in the future. If this is something that we can do to help, then let’s do it.”

MCH treated 14 patients connected to the Aug. 31 shooting. Medical Center Hospital started to receive shooting victims around 4 p.m. Aug. 31. Eight of the 13 initial patients brought to MCH had surgery.

The 36-year-old gunman, identified as Seth Ator, was pulled over by Texas Department of Public Safety Trooper Chuck Pryor for what DPS has said was a minor traffic violation.

Ator shot Pryor and then went on a shooting spree that left 7 people dead and 25 others injured before he was shot and killed by law enforcement near Odessa’s Cinergy Theatre.

“After the shooting happened and all of those people got out of our hospital, we saw the outpour of support from this community and really from the nation,” Tippin said. “We were part of their recovery from the beginning. They came in whether it was a gunshot or a broken leg or whatever it was. We were part of that healing process in the beginning.

“Through some conversations of how we can continue to help and what can we continue to do to be part of the healing process, we felt this was an appropriate step. These people were innocent of this. They didn’t ask for it.”