The cost of 85 of the 86 forensic rape exams performed on sexual assault survivors by the Brooklyn Hospital Medical center from January 2015 to February 2017 were either improperly billed to the patient or to their insurance, an investigation by Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s office found.
Today, Attorney General Schneiderman announced an agreement was reached with the Brooklyn Hospital to provide full restitution to illegally billed sexual assault survivors.
The investigation started after a complaint to the Attorney General’s office that a survivor of sexual assault was billed seven separate times for a forensic rape exam by the Brooklyn Hospital. In some of the 85 instances, the hospital even sent the unpaid, improper bills to collections.
New York State Law states that when a hospital provides services—like a forensic rape examination—to a sexual assault survivor, the services should be without charge to the patient, and billed directly to the Office of Victim Services.
“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,” said Attorney General Schneiderman. “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.”
After releasing the statement, the Attorney General took to Twitter today to expand upon the issue, rooting the announcement in the current national conversation about sexual assault.