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House Approves Bill Making Compassionate Changes to State Medical Examiner's Statutes (HB301/Herron)

Herron’s HB301 offers new avenues for grieving families

Wednesday, March 19, 2014, Juneau, Alaska – The Alaska House of Representatives today unanimously approved legislation by Rep. Bob Herron, which would change the law to offer greater compassion to families suffering the unexpected loss of a loved one.

House Bill 301 makes small but important changes to state law authorizing the transportation of human remains brought into Anchorage for examination by the State Medical Examiner’s office, and encourages cooperation between the state and regional health partners. In addition, the measure sets clear guidelines for written communication between the ME’s office and families, offering information on the processes, options, and resources available to them in a neutral and respectful manner.

“House Bill 301 is about compassion and respect for grieving Alaskan families,” Herron, D-South Bering Sea, said. “We want to encourage working partnerships with the Alaska Tribal Health System and regional hub entities which can assist as grief navigators to allow for greater care and less stress to the families. The bill has already initiated conversations with the state ME’s office. I’m thankful of the Department of Health and Social Services, and especially to Public Health Director Kerre Shelton, for her good work on the ‘Authorization for Release of Remains’ form. I look forward to advancing this bill through the Senate.”

HB 301 now moves to the Alaska Senate for consideration.

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