FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WNCN) – Cape Fear Valley Medical Center admitted it mistakenly sent bills for rape kits to rape victims. Officials said it was an error that happened while switching to a new electronic record system last year.
Victim advocates said there’s no excuse and it keeps happening.
They know of at least 17 cases from 2019 where victims were sent bills up to $5,000.
“It just should not be happening,” said Deanna Gerdes with Rape Crisis Volunteers of Cumberland County. “They’re upset, they’re confused, (and) they’re angry.”
Gerdes said victims are worried this could impact their credit score or insurance, not to mention privacy concerns.
“It can be humiliating, embarrassing, (and) definitely re-traumatizing (to) the victim,” Gerdes said.
Erin Scanlon said she had to complete a rape kit at a different hospital hours after she was raped.
“I had to be handheld through that process because I was so shocked,” Scanlon said. “Just telling yourself to get through so you can possibly get justice.”
Scanlon said she never received a bill for her rape kit, but said if she did, it would have added to her trauma and it could discourage other victims from coming forward.
“It’s already so difficult for victims of crimes of sexual assault to come forward,” Scanlon said. “They finally do and they’re being billed for the services. It’s awful.”
“We regret that they got a bill and we apologize for anyone who got a bill in error. And please, let us know so we can rectify it and make sure that it’s written off,” said Janet Conway with Cape Fear Valley Medical Center.
Conway said the bills will be sent directly to the state in cases when a police report has been filed. Otherwise, the hospital will write it off as charity care.