State Agency Completes Inspections of Detroit Funeral Homes

LARA regulators, as part of a quick action team called for by Gov. Rick Snyder, completed their citywide inspection of all 43 homes. They found no additional serious violations of the mortuary science and pre-paid funeral acts, and the department made no additional criminal referrals.

Acting at the request of Detroit Police Chief James Craig and because of recent violations found at two funeral homes in Detroit, the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs worked to ensure that all Detroit funeral homes were recently inspected. Recently, LARA regulators, as part of a quick action team called for by Gov. Rick Snyder, completed their citywide inspection of all 43 homes. They found no additional serious violations of the mortuary science and pre-paid funeral acts, and the department made no additional criminal referrals.

Of the 43 inspections, ten were completed within the last 15 months, and the remaining 33 inspections were done this month. There were lesser violations recently discovered that included nine cases of non-renewal of medical waste permits and several instances involving the improper posting of licenses and damage to the walls and flooring of the establishments.

"Our citywide inspection of Detroit funeral homes was based on the terrible findings at multiple funeral homes in the city and the corresponding increase in allegations received by the department," said LARA Director Shelly Edgerton. "The results of our inspections affirm that the vast majority of licensees are providing services according to state law. We will continue to evaluate and improve our regulatory efforts to ensure that all funeral homes in Michigan are operating in a safe, respectful, and lawful manner."

Although state law only requires funeral homes to be inspected following a new license, change in ownership, or a complaint, LARA has recently shifted resources and has begun routine inspections, with the goal of visiting each of the state's approximately 717 funeral homes every three years. LARA also has detailed three new regulators to its mortuary science program, bringing the total to seven. The department is now on track to inspect more than 250 homes in 2018. In addition to funeral home regulation, the program also oversees the practice of approximately 2,135 mortuary science licensees and 82 resident trainees.

Craig thanked the agency for promptly inspecting the city's funeral homes, adding, "We will continue to partner with the department and several other federal, state, and local agencies as we investigate funeral home concerns in Detroit."

On Nov. 1, Snyder announced the formation of a new team to address concerns regarding funeral homes across the state. The team is comprised of staff from LARA, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS), the Michigan State Police (MSP), and the state Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ). MDHHS is responsible for various aspects of the Public Health Code and oversight of the state's emergency services for burials; DEQ is responsible for the registration of medical waste-producing facilities and the regulation of other environmental laws; and MSP is responsible for criminal investigations, including fraud.

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