Rape Victims Re-victimized At NY Hospitals

Rape victims get big bills, no sympathy from money-hungry NY hospitals

| Targets of Illegal Hospital Billing Tactics

| Glamour – The cost of rape may be incalculable, but this wasn’t supposed to be part of it.

New York hospitals illegally billed survivors for hundreds of forensic rape examinations, a new investigation by state Attorney General Barbara Underwood finds.

In a deal first shared with Glamour, seven hospitals have signed a settlement with Underwood’s office to pay back sexual assault survivors who were charged for their rape exams and to set up new policies to keep it from happening again.

“Survivors of sexual assault have already gone through unfathomable trauma; to then subject them to illegal bills and collection calls is unconscionable,” Underwood said in a statement provided to Glamour.

“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.”

The seven hospitals in the settlement, according to the attorney general:

  • Brookdale University Hospital Medical Center
  • Columbia University
  • Montefiore Nyack Hospital
  • NewYork-Presbyterian Brooklyn Methodist Hospital
  • NewYork-Presbyterian Columbia University Irving Medical Center
  • Richmond University Medical Center, and
  • St. Barnabas Hospital.

Settlement documents reviewed by Glamour said the hospitals didn’t admit or deny breaking the law, but that they agreed to repay patients who were improperly billed and also to adopt written policies that make clear survivors are not to receive bills for rape exams.

“Survivors of sexual assault have already gone through unfathomable trauma; to then subject them to illegal bills and collection calls is unconscionable,” says New York Attorney General Barbara Underwood.

New York law says hospitals that provide services to sexual assault survivors—including forensic exams, commonly called rape kits—are supposed to send bills directly to the state’s Office of Victim Services (unless a patient chooses otherwise). Read more. 

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