ST. PAUL, Minn. (KMSP) - It’s against the law to bill sexual assault victims for forensic medical exams, but a recent report from the Minnesota Coalition Against Sexual Assault found that some Minnesota hospitals may not always follow the rules.
Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson sent letters to Minnesota’s major hospital systems, requesting a response to confirm they are not billing sexual assault victims for forensic medical exams. Minnesota law says counties must cover the cost of these exams.
The MNCASA report suggested that health care providers in Minnesota may lack education about the state and federal requirements.
“These state and federal regulations are aimed at protecting sexual assault victims and encouraging them to seek medical treatment,” said Attorney General Swanson. “It is important that there not be any confusion about the requirements of this law or its implementation.”
Statement from the Minnesota Hospital Association
“Minnesota’s hospitals and health systems strive to provide consistent, compassionate care to sexual assault victims when they come to the hospital. We take our responsibilities and obligations for patient care very seriously and we must do better. We want to make sure we are complying with the law and applying consistent responses across the state when caring for our most vulnerable patients. The Minnesota Hospital Association (MHA) and member hospitals and health systems have worked with the Minnesota Coalition Against Sexual Assault (MNCASA) for many years to improve care for victims of sexual assault. MHA partnered with MNCASA in surveying members on the medical forensic response information included in MNCASA’s recent report. Following the report’s release, MHA reached out to member hospitals and health systems to remind hospitals of their obligations under the law and provide them with resources to help them care for victims of sexual assault. MHA is also working with MNCASA to develop additional training opportunities for hospitals.”