Lauree Hugonin, director of the Alaska Network on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault, spoke at several committee meetings. She noted in response to Smith’s comment that while he had not found an instance where law enforcement has forwarded a bill, “hospitals have. It has happened in the Mat-Su Valley, on the Kenai Peninsula, and in Southeast, and that is why the bill is being brought forward.”
At another hearing, Hugonin said, “these charges occur as a result of hospital accounting procedures. The range of costs can be from between $300 and $1,000. The direct charges usually result from the accounting procedures at the hospitals and not the law enforcement agencies. She noted that there has been some difficulty in Mat-Su, Anchorage, Kenai and Sitka, and possibly in Bethel.”
Also at one of the meetings, Trisha Gentile, executive director of the Council on Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault, said some Alaska hospitals "have chosen to separate some of the costs of sexual-assault exams. Hospitals are adding sexually-transmitted-disease (STD) and blood tests to the cost of sexual-assault exams, and the hospital makes a choice to bill the victim for those charges. Police departments are willing to pay for sexual assault exams, but it is an internal decision on the part of the hospital as to who pays the hospital bill."
What this looks like it amounts to is the following --
- Hospitals are supposed to charge local municipalities for rape kits.
- When charged, Wasilla has a history of paying for the rape kits.
- The Chief of Police said they used to charge insurance companies.
- Palin cut out the budget item and it is unclear where the money to pay back the hospitals came from, but it was there.
- Wasilla could have been more pro-active in trying to make sure to pay back the cost of rape kits for other people based on the statistics in Wasilla, but it is altogether difficult to track down these people after the hospital already charged them.