During the recently concluded 2013 regular session, the Texas Legislature enacted Senate Bill 1191, which established new requirements for hospitals treating victims of sexual assault. The bill is primarily aimed at improving access to forensic examinations for survivors of sexual assault by ensuring that every Texas hospital with an emergency department has personnel who have basic training in forensic examinations. The changes are effective beginning Sept. 1, 2013.
SB 1191 sets out three new requirements for hospitals:
1. Any person who performs a forensic examination on a sexual assault survivor must have basic sexual assault forensic evidence collection training. Training approved or recognized by the appropriate licensing board satisfies this requirement.
2. Texas hospitals that have emergency departments, but which are not designated by a communitywide plan as the primary healthcare facility in the community for treating sexual assault providers, must:
a. Inform sexual assault survivors that the hospital is not a designated facility.
b. Provide sexual assault survivors with the name and location of a designated facility.
c. Inform survivors that they may choose to be transferred to a designated facility for care or receive care at the nondesignated facility.
d. If survivors choose to be transferred to the designated facility for care, stabilize and transfer the survivors to the designated facility after obtaining written, signed consent to do so.
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