OLYMPIA – Sexual assault survivors would receive more information faster about rape kit availability under a bill passed Friday by the House Health Care and Wellness Committee.
The bill requires hospitals that do not have rape test kits or a provider who can administer the test to notify the patient within two hours of the request.
An additional amendment to the bill also requires they coordinate with local sexual assault agencies to assist the victim in getting tested. Failure to meet these requirements would result in a $2,000 fine.
At a public hearing Jan 26, Rep. Michelle Caldier, R-Port Orchard, said that hospitals should be able to tell patients right away when they don’t have the necessary resources available.
She also said hospitals should work with local clinics to ensure patients are tested in a timely manner, instead of just sending victims to other hospitals that may be hours away.
Hailee Avocato, a sexual assault survivor, said at the January hearing that malpractice ruined her case.
“I sat in the hospital in Bremerton for six hours and 14 minutes the day after I was raped and was given no medical help or advice by multiple trained nurses,” she said.
The bill passed the committee unanimously with one excused.
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