HB 447 Modifies provisions relating to the deceased

     Handler: Riddle

Current Bill Summary

- Prepared by Senate Research -

SCS/HCS/HB 447 - This act establishes the Coroner Standards and Training Commission which shall establish training standards relating to the operation, responsibilities and technical skills of the office of county coroner. The membership of the Commission is set forth in the act. The Commission shall establish training standards relating to the office of county coroner and shall issue a report on such standards.

Currently, $1,000 of a county coroner's salary shall only be payable if he or she completes at least 20 hours of classroom instruction each year relating to the operations of the coroner's office when approved by a professional association of county coroners of Missouri. This act provides that the Coroners Standards and Training Commission shall establish and certify such training programs and their completion shall be submitted to the Missouri Coroners' and Medical Examiners' Association. Upon the Association's validation of certified training, it shall then submit the individual's name to the county treasurer and Department of Health and Senior Services indicating his or her compliance.

This act creates the Missouri State Coroner's Training Fund. For any death certificate issued, there shall be a fee of one dollar deposited into the fund which shall be used by the Missouri Coroners' and Medical Examiners' Association for the purpose of in-state training, equipment, and necessary supplies, and to provide aid to training programs approved by the Missouri Coroners' and Medical Examiners' Association. This fee shall be imposed and collected in addition to all other fees already being imposed and collected on the issuance of death certificates,

resulting in the current total fee of thirteen dollars being increased to fourteen dollars. Also, during states of emergency or disasters, local registrars may request reimbursement from the fund for copies of death certificates issued to individuals who are unable to afford the associated fees.

When a death occurs under the care of a hospice, no investigation shall be required, under this act, if the death is certified by the treating physician of the deceased or the medical director of the hospice as a named death due to disease or diagnosed illness. The hospice must give written notice to the coroner or medical examiner within twenty-four hours of the death.

The act specifies that, if a coroner is not current on his or her training, the Department may prohibit that coroner from signing any death certificates. In the event a coroner is unable to sign a death certificate, the county sheriff will appoint a medical professional to attest death certificates until the coroner can resume signing them or until another coroner is appointed or elected.

This act modifies the law regarding the confidentiality of records made and maintained by entities under the child fatality review panel statutes. Current law requires all meetings, reports, and records to be confidential and not open to the public. Under this act, all meetings and work product shall be confidential, while the state technical assistance team shall make non-identifiable aggregate data on child fatalities public and the Director of the Department of Social Services shall have the discretion to release certain identifiable data. The state technical assistance team shall make an annual report on child fatalities that shall include a summary on the county level of compliance with the child fatality review panel statutes.

This act also removes the requirement that the Department of Health and Senior Services analyze the child fatality review panel reports and prepare epidemiological reports regarding childhood deaths.

This act establishes the "Pregnancy-Associated Mortality Review Board" within the Department of Health and Senior Services to improve data collection and reporting regarding maternal mortality and to develop initiatives that support at-risk populations. The Board shall consist of no more than 18 members appointed by the Director of the Department, as specified in the act, with diverse racial, ethnic, and geographic membership. Before June 30, 2020, and each year thereafter, the Board shall submit a report on maternal mortality in the state and proposed recommendations to the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Director of the Department, the Governor, and the General Assembly.

The Department shall have the authority to request and receive data for maternal deaths from specified entities. All individually identifiable or potentially identifiable information and other records shall be kept confidential as described in the act.

Under current law, the medical certification from a medical provider is entered into the electronic death registration system. This act requires an attestation from the medical provider who completed the medical certification to be entered into the system as well.

Additionally, if the State Registrar determines that information on a document or record submitted to a local registrar is incomplete, the State Registrar shall return the records or documents with the incomplete information to the local registrar for correction by the data provider, funeral director, or person in charge of the final disposition.

Finally, this act repeals a provision allowing the State Registrar to adopt pilot programs or voluntary electronic death registration programs until an electronic death registration system is certified. Additionally, this act repeals a provision requiring the Division of Community and Public Health within the Department of Health and Senior Services to create a working group for the purposes of evaluating the electronic vital records system and submit a report on findings to the General Assembly by January 1, 2016.

Under this act, an "outdoor cremation facility" is defined as a licensed or permitted location that includes an outdoor funeral pyre with the ability to perform cremations. Such facility shall comply with all local, state, and federal laws to ensure public health and safety. Any licensed funeral establishment may, under this act, include an outdoor cremation facility provided such facility complies with all state laws and regulations related to funeral establishments.

For each outdoor cremation, a funeral establishment shall apply to the State Board of Embalmers and Funeral Directors for a permit to perform an outdoor cremation at an outdoor human cremation facility. The Board shall create an application form, which shall include certain information set forth in the act. Such application shall be completed and filed at least three days prior to the date of the outdoor cremation. The funeral establishment performing such outdoor cremation shall be required to provide written notice to applicable law enforcement, the county sheriff, or local police at least 24 hours in advance of any outdoor cremation. Such notice shall include certain information set forth in the act.

All outdoor cremations conducted at an outdoor human cremation facility shall be supervised by a licensed funeral director, or his or her designee.

This act is similar to SCS/SB 480 (2019), SB 305 (2019), HB 664 (2019), SCS/SB 34 (2019), HCS/HB 242 (2019), SCS/HCS/HB 2079 (2018), and SB 1020 (2018).


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