Michelle Southern reporting.
Governor Bobby Jindal today issued an executive order which directs hospitals to bill the Crime Victims Reparation fund instead of victims for sexual assault medical treatment. Louisiana Foundation Against Sexual Assault Executive Director Ebony Tucker says there is still a lot to do, but this order is a step in the right direction.
"We're definitely happy that a system is developing," said Tucker. "Several months ago we didn't have a system at all."
The order comes amidst outrage on revelations that hospitals were billing victims of sexual assault for services related to their care.
Tucker says the time period by which a victim of sexual assault must notify law enforcement is now extended from 72 hours to 1 year.
"The reason for that is because the trauma associated right after the assault in the days, weeks or months following, reporting to law enforcement might not be something a victim chooses to do," said Tucker.
Tucker says many legislative changes need to be made in the 2015 session and they look forward to continuing the process of improving care and services for victims of sexual assault. She says they want to make sure the state has the funds to cover the costs of treating victims.
"We're also looking for a system where a victim does not have to answer questions or be very involved in the billing process at all during such a traumatic experience," said Tucker.