Willis cheers new law that bans charging sex-assault victims for medical care
State Rep. Kathleen Willis (D-Dist. 77) praised a recently enacted law that ensures compliance with the federal Violence Against Women Act of 2013 and removes a barrier that may prevent sexual-assault survivors from going to the hospital after the crime.
“The last thing on someone’s mind in the wake of a sexual assault should be concern over medical bills,” Willis said. “This law will make sure that victims of sexual assault will be able to report the crime and allow medical technicians to collect all the evidence possible without fear of taking on the financial burden of costly medical expenses.”
The law prohibits hospitals, emergency-room physicians and other providers of sexual assault services from charging the survivor in person or sending the survivor a bill. Hospitals also must provide a written notice to survivors when they are discharged, explaining that they will not be billed and providing information regarding whom to contact if they receive a bill. Under the new law, fines may be imposed on providers who bill or refer a survivor to a collection agency.
“This law is a common-sense measure that is going to protect victims of sexual assault and result in more criminals being prosecuted for their crimes,” Willis said. "We want to remove the barriers of an oftentimes intimidating process for victims and do what we can to support them as we bring perpetrators to justice.”