Develop a SART
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Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act

What SARTs Are Doing About It

To ensure compliance with HIPAA—

  • North Dakota updated its North Dakota Sexual Assault Evidence Collection Protocol in May 2005. The revision called for two separate consent forms to be used—one to give the medical facility consent to perform the examination and treatment and the other to allow for the release of protected health information. The authorizations last for 7 years (statute of limitations) or until the completion of all investigations and legal actions. Victims are not required to sign the release form to receive an examination.
  • The Sexual Assault Task Force in Oregon documented its HIPAA guidelines in its SART Handbook and included a copy of the "Authorization to Use and Disclose Protected Health Information."
  • Some SARTs have developed consent forms for victims to sign before a victim advocate is dispatched to the exam site.
  • Some jurisdictions dispatch advocates at the same time as forensic examiners because patient information is never disclosed with dispatch. Generally, when advocates are automatically dispatched, victims are advised of their rights and are told there is an advocate present to support them through the exam process. This process works well because anecdotal information suggests that if victims are asked whether they want an advocate called, many victims decline because they don't want to impose on anyone.