Kentucky prosecutors, law enforcement officers, coroners and officials have said they think it would be helpful if coroners were called whenever someone dies in a nursing home. Evidence could be gathered and, if abuse or neglect had occurred, cases could be prosecuted.
But a bill that would require Kentucky nursing homes to report all deaths to the local coroner is in trouble in the General Assembly.
Tracey Corey, the state's chief medical examiner, estimates that if even 10 percent of the additional cases generated by the proposed law are turned over to her office for further evaluation, she would need three more doctors, more support staff and additional equipment for the required investigations, said Jennifer Brislin, a spokeswoman for the Justice Cabinet.
Despite concerns about costs, Corey supports the intent of House Bill 69, Brislin said. The bill, sponsored by state Rep. Tom Burch, D-Louisville, would require a specific staff member at a long-term care facility and hospice to report all deaths to the county coroner within 24 hours.
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