Sex assault victims billed for rape kits will be reimbursed

NEW YORK (AP) — New York's attorney general says dozens of sexual assault survivors were improperly billed for their rape exams by a New York City hospital.

Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said Tuesday that under an agreement with his office, the Brooklyn Hospital Center will reimburse patients who paid out of pocket for a rape kit.

Schneiderman says the hospital will inform rape survivors that under 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.

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

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Statement from Brooklyn Hospital

The State Attorney General's office brought this issue to the hospital's attention in February 2017. We deeply regret the inadvertent breakdown in our billing processes related to sexual assault victims. We appreciate the efforts of the Attorney General's office and thank them for their collaboration and advocacy. Working closely and transparently with their office, the hospital designed interdisciplinary processes and protocols to ensure that these billing issues do not occur again and to reflect not only our compliance with the law, but also our longstanding commitment to victims of sexual assault. Our patients and the community we serve are our first priorities. The Brooklyn Hospital Center serves a catchment area of more than 1 million people. We have been Keeping Brooklyn Healthy with sensitivity and compassion for nearly 175 years.

Statement from Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman

It's hard to imagine the heartache and anxiety a survivor must feel having to fight a collection agency over an unlawful bill for a rape kit. It's unacceptable, and we will not allow it to continue. I want to be clear: survivors of sexual assault are entitled to cost-free emergency care under New York law – and we will do everything possible to ensure they get the respect and care they deserve.

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