ME’s office gets year’s approval
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medical examiner’s office fails to address its staffing shortage within the next 12 months, its accreditation will be rescinded.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.