AJC Watchdog: First Alert

Keeping watch on those who hold the public trust and money

Grady Memorial apologizes to rape victims, but does not mention it broke the law

Nearly three years after her daughter was examined at Grady Memorial Hospital for a sexual assault, a Tennessee woman received a refund for a bill that should have never been sent. But the accompanying letter made no mention that Grady had billed them in violation of state law.

An Atlanta Journal-Constitution investigation found that Grady was billing victims to conduct forensic exams on rape victims, a practice that’s akin to charging a shooting victim to dust the gun for finger prints. Grady began issuing refunds after the AJC launched an investigation. But because of an oversight, six of the victims were billed again instead, the hospital acknowledged recently. One of them was the daughter of the Tennessee woman.

Her check came in the mail about a week ago. Her mother emailed us the text of a letter than arrived with it:

Dear [patient] -

We have identified an alternative payment source for the services stated above. A refund of your prior payment is enclosed. Your account now has a zero balance. We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused.


Patient Financial Services

The mother’s response:

So no, this does not restore my faith in Grady. The explanation makes no sense. They don't list any services and we already had a zero balance before they charged us again without explanation on August 6th, 2015. They talk about identifying another payment source but don't identify it or in any way mention what this is really about. My hope is that they will stop billing future rape victims now that they have been called on their deceptive practices.

Grady has had other troubles with state laws meant to protect victims of sex crimes. Earlier this summer, the AJC revealed that Grady withheld evidence in some 1,400 rape cases, even when victims wanted it given to police. They have since agreed to release about 1,000 of these packages of evidence, called rape kits, to a state forensic lab.

Note: We are not revealing the name of the daughter her mother to protect the victim’s privacy. The AJC typically does not name victims of sexual assault.

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