Legislature(1993 - 1994)

04/18/1993 01:20 PM Senate FIN

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
  SENATE BILL NO. 145                                                          
       An  Act  establishing  the position  of  state  medical                 
       examiner;   and  relating   to  preparation   of  death                 
  Co-chair Pearce  directed  that SB  145  be brought  on  for                 
  discussion.   Senator Rieger  explained that  responsibility                 
  for autopsies presently  rests with  a coroner.   He or  she                 
  determines  whether the  autopsy is  necessary, a  physician                 
  performs the examination, and the Dept. of Health and Social                 
  Services  pays  associated  costs.   Courts  may  also order                 
  autopsies.    In instances  where  it  seems  clear that  an                 
  autopsy  is  not warranted,  there is  no  one to  say "no."                 
  Courts are in a bind because the benefit of the doubt favors                 
  performing the autopsy.                                                      
  SB 145 would  allow a physician  in the Dept. of  Health and                 
  Social Services to  perform autopsies and decide  whether or                 
  not to perform  them.   This approach will  reduce costs  by                 
  eliminating unnecessary exams.  The FY 94 Senate  budget for                 
  the Dept. of  Health and Social Services is  predicated upon                 
  passage of SB 145.                                                           
  Co-chair Pearce  referenced a  $429.0 fiscal  note from  the                 
  Dept. of Health and Social Services and asked if it would be                 
  in addition  to funding  included in  the  budget.   Senator                 
  Rieger responded affirmatively but acknowledged that  he was                 
  not comfortable with the note.   He concurred, however, that                 
  the full amount of the medical examiner position  would have                 
  to be paid.  The request in the H&SS budget was reduced from                 
  over $900.0 to approximately $450.0.  Senator Rieger and Co-                 
  chair Frank agreed  upon need to work  on the note.   SB 145                 
  was HELD in committee pending that effort.                                   

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