Massachusetts

Medical Examiner's office in jeopardy of losing NAME accreditation

BOSTON, Mass. (WWLP) - The Massachusetts Medical Examiner's office is in jeopardy of losing their accreditation with the National Association of Medical Examiners (NAME), according to a Boston Globe report.

Felix Browne, spokesman for the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security (EOPSS) and Office of the Chief Medical Examiner (OCME) said that the NAME accreditation is a voluntary process and not required for the Medical Examiner. It will not impact the Medical Examiner office ability to do their job.

He attributes the drop in numbers for some categories to a shortage of medical examiners. The Medical Examiners's office was granted full accreditation by NAME through 2022 in August 2018.

Browne sent this statement to the 22News I-Team:

Under Dr. Hull’s leadership, the OCME has increased overall turnaround time for reports and death certificates to 92.7 percent completion within 90 days, and the office earned full NAME accreditation for the first time. The OCME has implemented a number of operational and investigative improvements over the last year and remains focused on its mission to deliver timely information to citizens of the Commonwealth. 

Browne also went on to say that the OCME remains fully accredited and the office is working closely with the accrediting body (NAME) to keep their full accreditation. Many initiatives have been put into place at the OCME in order to achieve the core mission of determining cause and manner of death in a timely manner. These include: hiring more forensic pathologists (medical examiners), restructuring the investigation unit, strengthening collaboration between administrative assistants and doctors, implementing a turnaround time monitoring system, developing a new autopsy report format, redesigning daily case assignment system to include full weekend administration, and hiring of a deputy chief medical examiner.

He reports that autopsy reports (58 percent within 90 days) and death certificates (78.3 percent within 90 days) were at significantly lower rates before the implementation of these operational changes. 

The OCME has hired two new medical examiners expected to begin work this spring and summer.


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