ME’s of­fice gets year’s ap­proval

The Middletown Press (Middletown, CT) - - FRONT PAGE - By Amanda Cuda

The Of­fice of the Chief Med­i­cal Ex­am­iner in Con­necti­cut has been granted pro­vi­sional ac­cred­i­ta­tion by the National As­so­ci­a­tion of Med­i­cal Ex­am­in­ers.

How­ever, if the state med­i­cal ex­am­iner’s of­fice fails to ad­dress its staffing short­age within the next 12 months, its ac­cred­i­ta­tion will be re­scinded.

Most of the of­fice’s prob­lems stem from be­ing un­able to keep up with an in­crease in bod­ies which have largely been at­trib­uted to a spike in over­doses.

The state’s ac­cred­i­ta­tion has been on the chop­ping block since at least Novem­ber, when the national or­ga­ni­za­tion no­ti­fied the state it was on the brink of los­ing its sta­tus.

In a let­ter, the National As­so­ci­a­tion of Med­i­cal Ex­am­in­ers rec­og­nized the state med­i­cal ex­am­iner had “made progress” in fix­ing ma­jor de­fi­cien­cies.

They noted the state is still “crit­i­cally un­der­staffed on the pro­fes­sional level” and this “is a most se­ri­ous de­fi­ciency” and the “de­fi­ciency re­lated to the un­rea­son­able work­loads of the med­i­cal ex­am­in­ers must be ad­dressed.”

In its let­ter, the national or­ga­ni­za­tion stated, in 2016, the of­fice per­formed 2,386 au­top­sies and 332 in­spec­tions.

“Based on the data pro­vided, each med­i­cal ex­am­iner there­fore per­formed on av­er­age the equiv­a­lent of 341 au­top­sies and 47 ex­ter­nal ex­am­i­na­tions, re­sult­ing in an av­er­age equiv­a­lent of 388 au­top­sies per med­i­cal ex­am­iner.” This far ex­ceeds the 325 au­top­sies per pathol­o­gist maximum the national as­so­ci­a­tion al­lows.

More than half of the U.S. pop­u­la­tion is served by NAME-ac­cred­ited med­i­cal ex­am­iner of­fices.

Ac­cord­ing to a news re­lease from the state’s chief med­i­cal ex­am­iner, Dr. James Gill, “sev­eral of­fices around the coun­try also have had ac­cred­i­ta­tion chal­lenges due to staffing is­sues from the in­crease in work­load due to the opi­oid cri­sis.

Med­i­cal ex­am­in­ers’ of­fices in Mary­land, New Hamp­shire and Washington, D.C., needed to in­crease their staffing lev­els. These agen­cies all re­ceived bud­get sup­port to in­crease their staffing.

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