A New York City hospital charged rape victims for a total of 85 sexual assault forensic kits, The New York Daily News reported — even though those exams are supposed to be free under state law. Brooklyn Hospital Center, in the affluent Brooklyn neighborhood of Fort Greene, reportedly charged victims for the kits administered between January 2015 and this past February.
The investigation was launched in January after State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman received a tip that one rape survivor was billed seven times for a single rape kit.
“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, and we have found — contrary to law — that way too often, you have to worry.”
The hospital is now changing policies in order to prevent illegal charges for rape kits, Schneiderman said, and will pay the victims back. The hospital will also reportedly pay a $15,000 fine.
“There was an inadvertent breakdown in our billing processes related to sexual assault victims, which we deeply regret,” Brooklyn Hospital Center said in a statement. “Working closely and transparently with the Attorney General's 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.”
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