NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Dozens of sexual assault survivors were improperly billed for their rape exams by a New York City hospital, according to New York’s attorney general.
Attorney General Eric Schneiderman claims that over the past two years Brooklyn Hospital Center charged 85 rape victims hundreds of dollars for forensic examinations.
“New York law since 2005 has provided that these services should be given to survivors free of charge,” Schneiderman said.
In one case, Schneiderman said a woman was billed seven different times for her rape kit and when she didn’t pay the bill the hospital handed her account to a collection agency.
“This is intolerable conduct,” Schneiderman said. “It is hard to imagine the heartbreak and anxiety that would come from having to fight a collection agency over a clearly unlawful, mistakenly charged rape kit.”
Brooklyn Hospital Center is being fined $15,000 and has agreed to reimburse patients who paid out-of-pocket for a rape kit, Schneiderman announced Tuesday.
Schneiderman said 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 or their private insurance.
Schneiderman said he has also sent letters to an additional 10 hospitals throughout the state seeking information on how they bill sexual assault survivors.
Brooklyn Hospital said in a statement that it regrets “the inadvertent breakdown in our billing processes related to sexual assault victims.”
(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)