The North Carolina General Assembly passed a law today providing more than $1 million to reimburse hospitals for performing rape kits on victims of sexual assaults as well as for one visit with a follow-up counselor. Previously, victims with insurance were billed for the portion of the visit not covered by insurance, while those without had their bills sent directly to the state. The hospitals have been charging the state an average of $1,600 per uninsured rape victim; the new program pays the hospitals $800 plus $200 for ambulance transportation. Additionally, hospitals are not allowed to seek any payment for services from rape victims. Many states pick up the entire tab for a forensic rape exam, since it comes as part of a criminal investigation, but North Carolina is at least doing something to keep hospital collectors from harassing victims who already had to screw up the courage to come forward. [Charlotte Observer]