Sexual Assault Response News

First Kentucky Hospitals Receive Certification for Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner Readiness

FRANKFORT, Ky. (Sept. 19, 2016) — Several Kentucky hospitals are the first to have obtained certification as Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE)-ready facilities. This means these facilities have successfully demonstrated readiness to provide round-the-clock response for sexual assault victims.

A sexual assault nurse examiner (SANE) is a registered nurse with advanced training in the forensic examination of sexual assault victims and is credentialed by the Board of Nursing. The SANE certifications were issued to all of the St. Elizabeth Hospitals in Northern Kentucky, Fleming County Hospital and Meadowview Regional Medical Center by the Office of Inspector General (OIG) in the Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS) following passage of the Sexual Assault Forensic Evidence (SAFE) Act by the General Assembly earlier this year.

“St. Elizabeth Hospitals, Fleming County Hospital and Meadowview Regional Medical have taken an important step in becoming SANE-ready,” said CHFS Sec. Vickie Yates Brown Glisson. “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 a certainly step forward for victims’ rights in Kentucky.”

Intended to address the backlog of untested sexual assault evidence kits, the SAFE Act also seeks to improve the quality of medical care sexual assault victims receive by allowing hospitals to seek a SANE-ready designation if they have a SANE nurse on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

“I applaud these hospitals for taking the necessary steps to become SANE-ready facilities. It is crucial to provide victims of sexual assault with the highest standard of care,” said Sen. Whitney Westerfield. “This certification is another victory in the fight for victims’ rights in Kentucky, and I hope our state continues to show victims and their families that we are taking seriously their treatment and well-being.”

“I commend these facilities for demonstrating their readiness to examine and care for assault victims and look forward to more facilities participating in this program,” said Senator Denise Harper Angel, who sponsored the legislation which paved the way for SANE certified facilities. “The SAFE Act is so important for protecting Kentuckians and helping bring justice for individuals who experienced these terrible crimes. The SAFE Act clears a path to justice and it tells victims -- many of which have been waiting for so long -- that they’ll wait no longer.”

Kentucky lawmakers passed the SAFE Act with bipartisan support during the 2016 General Assembly. Following its passage, Governor 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,” said Eileen Recktenwald, executive director of the Kentucky Association of Sexual Assault Programs (KASAP). ” KASAP commends these hospitals for recognizing the importance of SANE readiness and seeking the certification, and we hope others follow suit.

CHFS will be charged with annually certifying SANE-ready hospitals, posting a list of certified facilities on its website and providing the list to the Kentucky Board of Emergency Medical Services. The state Board of EMS, in turn, shares that list with the local EMS providers.