ALBANY — Seven New York hospitals illegally billed sexual assault victims for their forensic rape examinations, state Attorney General Barbara Underwood revealed Thursday.
The seven health care facilities charged for a combined 200 rape kits despite state law requiring hospitals treat sexual assault victims without charge. The hospitals are supposed to bill the state Office of Victim Services directly or private insurance.
The hospitals, six of which are in New York City, charged victims anywhere from $46 to $3,000, Underwood said.
The health care facilities entered into a settlement with Underwood’s office in which they agreed to repay the victims, plus costs, and formally revise their procedures.
“Survivors of sexual assault have already gone through unfathomable trauma,” Underwood said. “To then subject them to illegal bills and collection calls is unconscionable. Hospitals have a fundamental responsibility to comply with New York law.”
The seven hospitals were Brookdale University Hospital Medical Center in Brooklyn; New York Presbyterian/Brooklyn Methodist Hospital; Columbia University Hospital in Manhattan, New York-Presbyterian/Columbia University Irving Medical Center in Manhattan; Richmond University Medical Center in Staten Island, St. Barabas Hospital in the Bronx, and Montefiore Nyack Hospital in Rockland County.
The probe stemmed from a complaint that a rape victim was billed seven separate times for a forensic rape examination at Brooklyn Hospital Medical Center. The hospital last year entered into a settlement.
But the attorney general’s office used the complaint to launch a broader probe, leading to Thursday’s settlements.
Representatives of all the hospitals but one had no immediate comment.
“Our patients are our top priority. We are committed to providing sexual assault survivors, and everyone who comes to our hospital, high quality care with the sensitivity they deserve,” administrators from New York-Presbyterian said in a statement.
Women’s groups hailed the settlements.