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Lawmaker outraged rape victims pay for emergency services

4 years 6 months 3 weeks ago Friday, September 26 2014 Sep 26, 2014 September 26, 2014 8:07 AM September 26, 2014 in News
Source: WBRZ
By: Ryan Naquin

BATON ROUGE - A politician believes it is time to change laws so sexual assault victims will stop getting billed for medical costs associated with attacks

"That is an absurd thing for a victim to have to pay for," Sexual Trauma and Awareness Response executive director Rachael Herbert said.

Herbert said following an examination, victims can be billed for an emergency room visit, medicines and other equipment used in their procedures.

"First thing on their mind is, 'I need to get help.  I need to receive medical attention. I need access to prevent pregnancy and possible STD's or HIV,'" Herbert said. "Usually, they're not told up front how much it might cost."

The cost can be from $1000-$4000 per victim, according to Herbert.

"It can definitely add up, and we would love it if by law they didn't have to pay for anything," she said.

"We've got to do something. This makes the victim a victim twice and we can't have that happen," State Representative Pat Smith said.

Smith wants to change system in place.

Right now, each parish is responsible to provide medical attention to victims, but not every parish allocates money to help with the costs of seeing a doctor at a hospital or clinic.  STAR works directly with hospitals in the area to reduce the bill or forgive it all together.

"We're really looking serious at how we can attack some of these issues through legislation or how do we get people to work together to come up with a viable solution," Smith said. "So that no rape victim is not going to report something because of the fact they have to pay a bill."

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