STOCK MARKET BSE NSE

New York City hospital: Sex assault victims billed for rape kits will be reimbursed 

Brooklyn Hospital said in a statement that it regrets "the inadvertent breakdown in our billing processes related to sexual assault victims."

Published: 29th November 2017 01:20 AM  |   Last Updated: 29th November 2017 01:20 AM   |  A+A-

Image for representational purpose only

By Associated Press

NEW YORK: Dozens of sexual assault survivors were improperly billed for their rape exams by a New York City hospital, the state's attorney general said Tuesday.

Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said that under an agreement with his office, the Brooklyn Hospital Center will reimburse patients who paid out of pocket for a rape kit and will inform rape survivors going forward that under a 2005 New York state law the rape kits can be billed to the state's Office of Victim Services.

Schneiderman said he has also sent letters to 10 other hospitals throughout the state seeking information on how they bill sexual assault survivors and hopes the agreement with Brooklyn Hospital will serve as a model.

"These kits are used on what is undoubtedly one of the worst days of a survivor's life," Schneiderman said. "The absolute last thing they should have to worry about is how they'll pay for their care at the hospital. But we have found contrary to law that way too often they do have to worry."

Schneiderman said a woman contacted his office in January about her experience being treated at Brooklyn Hospital after she was sexually assaulted in 2015.

"After her visit, in complete violation of state law, she was billed seven different times for her rape kit, hundreds of dollars each time," Schneiderman said.

He said that when the woman did not pay the bill, the hospital sent it to a collection agency, which he called "intolerable."

Brooklyn Hospital said in a statement that it regrets "the inadvertent breakdown in our billing processes related to sexual assault victims." Spokeswoman Kim Flodin said the hospital worked with Schneiderman's office to develop protocols "to ensure that these billing issues do not occur again."

Schneiderman said his office investigated and found that in all but one of the 86 forensic rape exams conducted at Brooklyn Hospital between January 2015 and February 2017, the hospital either improperly billed the patient or billed the patient's insurance carrier without advising the patient of the option to bill the state.

Schneiderman said it's unclear how many other hospitals are improperly billing patients for rape kits.

Advocates for sexual assault survivors praised the agreement.

"Think about it for a moment, how traumatic is sexual assault?" said Sonia Ossorio, president of the New York chapter of the National Organization for Women, who joined Schneiderman at a news conference at his Manhattan office. "And it's re-traumatizing to have bills arrive in the mail asking you to pay for basically what is collection of evidence of a crime scene."



Comments

Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the newindianexpress.com editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on newindianexpress.com are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of newindianexpress.com or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. newindianexpress.com reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

IPL_2020
flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp