Several Kentucky hospitals are now certified as ‘Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner’ ready facilities

Three Kentucky hospital systems have become the first in the state to obtain certification that demonstrates their ability to provide 24 hour response for sexual assault victims.

The newly certified “Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner” facilities include all of the St. Elizabeth Hospitals in Northern Kentucky, Fleming County Hospital in Flemingsburg and Meadowview Regional Medical Center in Maysville. They have a SANE nurse on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

“This designation demonstrates a commitment to providing a higher standard of care for sexual assault victims by ensuring they will be examined and treated by someone with skills and expertise necessary when dealing with this type of crime. This is certainly step forward for victims’ rights in Kentucky,” Health Secretary Vickie Yates Brown Glisson said in a news release.

SANE nurses have advanced training in the forensic examination of sexual assault victims and are credentialed by the Kentucky Board of Nursing. The certification was made possible by the “Sexual Assault Forensic Evidence Act,” which passed the 2016 General Assembly with bipartisan support. The SAFE Act also addressed the backlog of untested sexual assault evidence kits in the state. Following its passage, Gov. Matt Bevin proposed an additional $4.5 million for the state crime lab to help it meet new testing deadlines set by the bill.

“Making sure sexual assault victims receive quality, compassionate care in the immediate hours following an assault can help them begin the long journey toward healing,” Eileen Recktenwald, executive director of the Kentucky Association of Sexual Assault Programs, said in the release. “KASAP commends these hospitals for recognizing the importance of SANE readiness and seeking the certification, and we hope others follow suit.”

The state Cabinet for Health and Family Services is required to certify SANE-ready hospitals annually and to post the list on its website. This list is also provided to the Kentucky Board of Emergency Medical Services, which then shares it with local EMS providers.

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