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Seven hospitals charged HUNDREDS of sex assault victims for rape kits: Official

Numerous New York City hospitals have agreed to repay sexual assault survivors who they illegally charged as much as $3,000 for rape kits, officials announced Thursday.

In a statement, the New York Attorney General’s Office said the seven area hospitals will not only pay full restitution but plan to implement policies to prevent future billings of sex assault survivors. The agreement comes months after the office received a tip from someone who claimed The Brooklyn Hospital Medical Center billed them on seven separate occasions for a forensic rape examination they administered in the emergency room.

The Attorney General’s Office said its statewide investigation revealed that seven state hospitals had illegally billed a total of 200 patients anywhere from $46 to $3,000.

Officials explained that hospitals are required to either directly bill the state’s Office of Victim Services (OVS) or the patient’s private insurance, the latter being at the patient’s discretion. Forwarding the bill to OVS offers the patient privacy, according to the press release, and “increases the likelihood that a survivor will submit to the FRE (forensic rape examination), which in turn increases the ability of law enforcement agencies to identify offenders.”

Attorney General Barbara D. Underwood said this week, “Survivors of sexual assault have already gone through unfathomable trauma; to then subject them to illegal bills and collection calls is unconscionable. Hospitals have a fundamental responsibility to comply with New York law. My office will continue to do everything in our power to protect survivors and their rights.”

 

[Featured image: Pixabay]