WEST CHESTER (April 30) – State Senator Andy Dinniman recently worked with officials from the Crime Victims’ Center of Chester County and local hospitals to clarify and improve billing and processing policies for victims of sexual assault.

Dinniman became involved in the issue when he learned that bill processing errors had resulted in several victims being charged for forensic exams at area hospitals. Under state law, such exams can be provided to victims free of charge with hospitals being reimbursed by the Victims Compensation Assistance Program.

“While we continue to work to prevent crime and sexual assault, we must also strive to ensure that victims have access to the support and resources they need to fully recover and lead healthy, happy and productive lives,” Dinniman said. “It was important to sit down with victim advocates and hospital representatives to review proper procedures and discuss what works and what doesn’t.”

He also noted that as a result of the meeting several victims of sexual assault had seen their credit ratings restored after they were mistakenly billed for forensic exams.

Dinniman brought together representatives from the Crime Victims’ Center of Chester County, the Victims Compensation Assistance Program, the Chester County District Attorney’s Office and several area hospitals including Chester County, Paoli, Brandywine and Jennersville to discuss and review procedures.

“As a result of the meeting regarding forensic rape exams that was organized by Senator Dinniman’s office, there have been many positive responses. Hospitals in Chester County responded by taking action, implementing policies to ensure the continuation of care from the forensic exam to the bill process,” Peggy Gusz, Executive Director of the Crime Victims’ Center of Chester County, said. “This collaboration has enabled all parties to provide for the needs of victims of sexual assault in Chester County.

“Victims have already been through enough trauma and receiving a bill for a forensic exams only compounds that trauma, which has far reaching effects,” she added.

 

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