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Organization Calling On La. Health Department To Stop Charging Rape Victims For Emergency Care

News reports over the weekend about rape victims in New Orleans being charged for some medical treatments are prompting a leading women’s rights organization to push for change. The group is calling on state health officials to change the rules.

Clay Latimer is the political action coordinator for the Louisiana chapter of the National Organization for Women.

She learned in weekend reports from Times Picayune that rape victims were being billed for some medical treatments.

LSU Interim Hospital tells the newspaper that it bills for HIV and pregnancy tests. New Orleans lawmakers Senator J.P. Morrell and Representative Helena Moreno are promising that will be changed.

Latimer says that’s not fast enough.

“We are grateful to Senator Morrell and Representative Moreno who agreed to address this oversight that will affect over 1,000 per year," she said, "but that’s not going to happen until the legislative session begins in April of 2015.”   

She says the Department of Health and Hospitals should reverse the policy immediately.

“I’m hoping that when Secretary Kliebert walks into her office at DHH," she said, "the first thing on her calendar will be to address this issue with some kind of administrative change.” Times-Picayune says the billing policy went into effect when the state handed over control of the hospital from LSU to a private entity last year.

Eileen is a news reporter and producer for WWNO. She researches, reports and produces the local daily news items. Eileen relocated to New Orleans in 2008 after working as a writer and producer with the Associated Press in Washington, D.C. for seven years.

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