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Wed August 20, 2008
State to Pay Rape Victim's Medical Exams
By Marina Giovannelli
Wilmington, NC – The victim of a brutal rape in downtown Wilmington will not have to pay for her medical exams because of a law that took effect just three weeks before her attack.
The North Carolina law requires that the state cover the costs of gathering evidence from a rape victim's body.
Representative Alice Bordsen co-sponsored the legislation, and she says she was shocked to learn that rape victims had to pay for their own forensic exams.
"Why would we ever assume there was one area of evidence gathering where the victim had to pay for their own evidence gathering, it seemed obscene," says Bordsen.
Under the new law, the state will reimburse hospitals $800 for examining a rape victim.
Don Dalton is vice president of The North Carolina Hospital Association. Dalton says he is not sure if $800 enough to cover the costs for the tests, and it will take time to find out.
"Until we have that experience, it's not appropriate for me to say that it's not enough or its too much. I don't have an opinion until I have better data on which to base that opinion," says Dalton.
Dalton says hospitals are changing their billing procedures, and if he finds the $800 dollar reimbursement in not enough, he will bring up the issue with state legislators.