Billing error sends woman bill for sexual assault kit

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ST. GEORGE, Utah (ABC4 News) – After a traumatizing experience, Megan Hawkes was encouraged by her sister to have a sexual assault evaluation at Dixie Regional Medical Center.

It was mid-July when Megan was sexually assaulted. She’s begun her journey to healing when out of nowhere, she received a bill requesting more than $1,100.

“Getting the email stating that I had that bill, and then logging on, and I was like, it was probably just something else,” Megan says. “I’m just sitting there, and it felt like a slap in the face.”

Megan then contacted the Utah Office for Victims of Crime, but they were closed. She then reached out to Intermountain Healthcare, only to be placed on hold without answers.

 “I just remember sobbing silently to myself because I didn’t want my parents to really know that I had gotten the bill,” Megan says.

Turning to Twitter, Megan discovered support from Rep. Angela Romero.

And from there, the ball started rolling, when she began receiving answers from Intermountain Healthcare’s billing department, R1, and Southwest SANE (Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners).

“The text stating from them, do not pay a dime like this is not on you, this is fully taken care of was honestly a relief,” Megan says. “Getting that text, getting a response finally in general, was just like, finally. Like I’ve been heard.”

Megan says she understands it was a billing mistake and should not have happened.

In an explanation to Megan, R1 says a biller with their company removed the hold which then automatically sent the bill.

Federal law states no sexual assault survivor will have to pay for a sexual assault kit.

Megan wonders if she hadn’t said anything, what would have happened and what about other women this may have happened to.

“I want any woman that comes across my tweet – whether it be just on Twitter, whether it be through a friend, whatever,” Megan says. “I want them to feel like they have someone they can turn to.”

ABC4 News reached out to R1 to understand how the error was made and did not receive a response by the time of publication. An update will be provided if the company responds.

Southwest SANE wants to assure other sexual assault survivors this is a rare incident and shouldn’t discourage others from being treated.

If you or someone you know is a victim of sexual assault, contact the rape and sexual assault crisis line at 1-888-421-1100.

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