Tabares-Backed Measure to Protect Sexual Assault Survivors Becomes Law

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Local News

A new law supported by state Rep. Silvana Tabares, D-Chicago, will help survivors of sexual assault by ensuring they are not billed by hospitals for medical services related to their attack. “The pain that sexual assault survivors have to endure needs to be met with all of our protection and compassion,” Tabares said. “I want to make sure Illinois law stands behind these survivors every step of the way as they receive the care they need and the justice they deserve.”

Tabares worked to pass House Bill 3848, which prevents health care providers from billing sexual assault survivors for emergency medical care and evidence collection needed to help the prosecution of the rapist. The federal Violence Against Women Act forbids survivors of sexual assault from being assessed any fees for services related to an attack. Currently, survivors who are covered by public aid or private insurance plans have copays and out-of-pocket fees covered by Illinois’ Medicaid program. However, changes to those payments in 2012 caused confusion in the billing process resulting in several cases of bills being sent to individuals who had been recently assaulted. Tabares’ measure would prohibit this discrepancy and require hospitals to submit updated billing protocols to the Illinois Attorney General to ensure compliance.

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