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Bexar County Medical Examiner's Accreditation Enhancement Program

Award Information

Award #
Funding Category
Competitive Discretionary
Awardee County
Bexar County
Congressional District
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2023, $101,458)

Two years ago, the Bexar County Medical Examiner's Office (BCMEO) had its National Association of Medical Examiner's (NAME) accreditation placed on a probationary status.  The reason for this is threefold with all three reasons being inter-related.  First, the caseloads for each Medical Examiner exceeds best practices.  Second, NAME requires that 90% of reports of all porstmortem examinations be completed within 90 calendar days from the time of autopsy.  Prior to the pandemic, the BCMEO wa averaging 99%.  Today, it is 71%.  As of February 23, 2023, the BCMEO had 197 cases that were past the 90 day closeout period and that number is growing.  Third, the basic workload of the organization is increasing.  

The NAME has allowed the BCMEO to maintain its probationary accreditation as long as it continues to make a good faith effott to remediate the deficiencies currently being encountered.  As part of that effort, the BCMEO is requesting BJA funds so that it can hire a full-time forensic transcriber.  This individual will have a direct empact on the ability of the BCMEO to have 90% of its cases closed within 90 days - a standard for NAME accreditation.  With BJA funding, the BCMEO will also avail itself of the opportunity to receive training and technical assistance that can enhance the BCMEO's ability to address its workforce, workload, and technology infrastructure so that it can ultimately be re-accredited.  

The innovation and creativity of this grant program do not lie in the simple hiring of a forensic transcriber to address the backlog of cases.  The innovation and creativity lie in the larger understanding of the inter-relatedness of the forensic transcriber within the larger BCMEO system of care.  

Getting the BCMEO's accreditation reinstated in full will also make hiring medical examiners easier because medical examiners would rather work for an accredited program and facility rather than a non-accredited one or one on probation.  Finally, it is comforting to the families of the decedents as well as the local law enforcement officials to ahve the quality assurance that comes from accreditation.

Date Created: September 8, 2023