NPR, November 28, 2017
Laurel Wamsley

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An investigation by New York's attorney general found that the Brooklyn Hospital Center improperly billed dozens of patients for the cost of forensic rape exams.

The exams, known as rape kits, are required by state law to be free of cost to patients. Attorney General Eric Schneiderman's office said Tuesday that between January 2015 and February 2017, the hospital conducted 86 forensic rape exams. It billed the patients or their insurance plans in 85 of those cases, without revealing that the exam could be free.

Schneiderman said he launched the investigation after one victim complained that she had been billed seven times for a forensic rape exam performed at the hospital's emergency room. After receiving the initial bill, the patient contacted a victim's assistance organization, which reached out to the state's Office of Victim Services, which told the hospital that the state should be billed. A month later, the patient got a bill from a collection agency.

"These kits are used on what is undoubtedly one of the worst days of a survivor's life," Schneiderman told The Associated Press. "The absolute last thing they should have to worry about is how they'll pay for their care at the hospital. But we have found contrary to law that way too often they do have to worry." [...]

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