A hospital from the Hudson Valley is among seven in New York that illegally billed rape victims.ize-full wp-image-247262" src="//townsquare.media/site/705/files/2018/11/ios-download2.png" alt="ios-download2" width="630" height="42" />

On Thursday, New York Attorney General Barbara D. Underwood announced settlements with seven New York hospitals that illegally billed rape survivors for forensic rape examinations.

“Survivors of sexual assault have already gone through unfathomable trauma; to then subject them to illegal bills and collection calls is unconscionable,” Underwood said in a press release. “Hospitals have a fundamental responsibility to comply with New York law. My office will continue to do everything in our power to protect survivors and their rights.”

The hospitals include Montefiore Nyack Hospital, Brookdale University Hospital Medical Center, Columbia University, New York Presbyterian/Brooklyn Methodist Hospital, New York-Presbyterian/Columbia University Irving Medical Center, Richmond University Medical Center and St. Barnabas Hospital.

Under the terms of the agreements, the hospitals will implement written policies to ensure that sexual assault survivors do not receive bills for their rape examinations, provide full restitution to any improperly billed sexual assault survivors and pay costs, according to the Attorney General's office.

“Hospitals are places for care and healing and no one who seeks help after a sexual assault should be re-traumatized by being billed for the processing of a rape kit,” Hon. Judy Harris Kluger, executive director of Sanctuary for Families said. “The collection of evidence itself takes a physical and emotional toll."

The Attorney General's investigation found 200 unlawfully billed forensic rape examinations, ranging in price from $46 to $3,000, officials say.

New York State Executive Law Section 631(13) states hospitals must provide forensic rape examinations and other services to sexual assault survivors for free and bill the Office of Victim Services.

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