On Sept. 24, 2013, the Dallas-Fort Worth Hospital Council (DFWHC) will sponsor the educational event “Rape Kit Responsibility: The impact of Senate Bill 1191” at Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children. The bill allows sexual assault survivors access to care at any hospital with emergency rooms in Texas.
The 85 member hospitals of DFWHC provide crucial healthcare services in North Texas while serving as economic engines generating jobs and injecting billions of dollars into the economy. Hospitals also provide important community needs. Treating sexual assault survivors is one of the most important community needs of all. Effective Sept. 1, 2013, all Texas hospitals with emergency rooms will be required to have trained professionals to obtain forensic evidence from sexual assault victims. We hope the September 24 meeting will assist North Texas hospitals in achieving this important goal.
The meeting’s agenda will include information on Senate Bill 1191 and emergency department training by certified Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (SANE) from Texas Health Resources. SANE is registered nurses who have completed specialized education in medical forensic care of patients who have suffered sexual assault or abuse. A discussion with defense attorneys on evidence collected will be included.
We will also have representatives from Children at Risk to provide the telltale signs of sexual human trafficking victims who seek medical treatment from hospitals. Sadly, Texas has some of the highest numbers of incidents in the country. The Interstate 10 highway corridor has been identified as the top human trafficking route in the U.S. by the Department of Justice, with as many as one in four victims passing through Texas.
Our hospitals provide community benefits to North Texas with indigent care, appropriate contractual discounts and financial counseling to patients and families. Helping sexual assault survivors is a social responsibility for us all, and a cornerstone of a hospital’s mission when fostering health and healing.