Governor Ducey Signs Legislation To Protect Victims From Shameful Medical Billing

News Release

April 6, 2022

Governor Ducey Signs 12 Bills Into Law

PHOENIX — Governor Doug Ducey today signed legislation to ensure victims of a sexual crime are not charged for any part of the medical or forensic examination related to the crime, fulfilling a priority outlined in his January State of the State Address

Victims of sexual assault have been charged as much as $800 for a forensic nurse visit and the collection of evidence that will later be used by prosecutors. Senate Bill 1593, sponsored by Senator Sine Kerr of Buckeye, will change that. 

“Charging victims of sexual crimes for their medical examinations is shameful, and we cannot let it happen in Arizona,” said Governor Ducey. “There is no other crime where a victim is charged for the collection of evidence — so thanks to the leadership and advocacy of Senator Kerr and community groups across the state, we’re tightening the law with Senate Bill 1593. Arizona will continue to stand up for victims and survivors and help protect them as they recover, and I thank everyone who supported this crucial legislation.”

The legislation prohibits health care institutions from charging an intake, consultation, facility or other fee to a patient as part of a medical and forensic interview or examination for a sexual assault. It also prohibits health care institutions from billing a sexual assault patient seeking care either directly or through a billing company.

“Sending victims of sexual abuse a bill for their examinations is an unacceptable and abusive practice,” said Senator Kerr. “Senate Bill 1593 will make sure it no longer happens in Arizona. I was proud to sponsor this important legislation and work with my fellow legislators to pass it unanimously through both the House and Senate. I’m grateful to Governor Ducey for his dedication to supporting sexual assault survivors and all vulnerable Arizonans, and for signing this legislation that will protect so many people moving forward.”

Additionally, S.B. 1593 expands the list of sexual offenses for which counties are required to pay for medical and forensic examinations to include additional sexual crimes against victims ages 15 to 17 that were not included in the prior statute. 

Each county must also publish on its website the name of the county official who is responsible for paying the expenses for any medical or forensic examination. 

“Survivors of sexual violence deserve care, compassion and support,” said Arizona Child and Family Advocacy Network Executive Director Trevor Umphress. “They should never receive a bill for their medical examinations — just like every other crime. We are grateful to Governor Ducey, Senator Kerr and everyone who supported Senate Bill 1593 for their attention to this important issue.” 

View a video of the Governor addressing this issue during his 2022 State of the State Address HERE

In 2016, the Governor established the Sexual Assault Evidence Collection Kit Task Force to address the unacceptable injustice of untested rape kits in Arizona.

Arizona in 2017 worked in a bipartisan manner to clear the backlog of untested rape kits. To accomplish this goal, the Governor signed legislation to establish time limits, standards and reporting requirements for the processing of rape kits to ensure all future kits are tested.

In May 2019, Governor Ducey ceremonially signed legislation to strengthen protections for victims of child sexual abuse by extending the amount of time victims have to pursue civil action against perpetrators. 

Governor Ducey signed 11 other bills today:

S.B. 1166 public employers; union contracts (Leach) 
H.B. 2372 animal cruelty; release conditions (Bolick) 
H.B. 2455 incorporation; urban areas (Carter) 
H.B. 2586 electric charging providers (Weninger) 
H.B. 2615 youth music and art special plates (Chaplik) 
S.B. 1214 reviser's technical corrections; 2022 (Gray) 
S.B. 1323 third party rights; adopted child (Shope) 
S.B. 1382 municipal employee assistance; notice (Petersen) 
S.B. 1399 adoption; foster care; religious discrimination (Kerr) 
S.B. 1468 occupational therapists; compact (Barto) 
S.B. 1624 unauthorized disclosure; intimate images; remedies (Mesnard)