State: No big issues found at other Detroit funeral homes
Dozens of Detroit funeral homes were inspected over two weeks following the discovery of improperly disposed bodies and fetuses at two establishments, and no serious violations were discovered, state regulators announced Wednesday.
The inspections were requested by Detroit Police Chief James Craig following the discovery of serious violations at Cantrell Funeral Home and Perry Funeral Home in Detroit, and were conducted by a quick action team ordered Nov. 1 by Gov. Rick Snyder.
Cantrell was shut down in April after inspectors with the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs found 21 improperly stored bodies. In mid-October, the bodies of 11 infants and fetuses were discovered hidden in a ceiling crawl space at the shuttered facility.
Later in October, LARA and Detroit Police investigators removed 63 fetuses from Perry Funeral Home. Police are investigating allegations the home mishandled hundreds of fetuses and infants' bodies and filed death certificates falsely claiming that some of them had been buried.
“I thank LARA for their prompt regulatory inspections of funeral homes across the city, which have provided us with invaluable insights,” Craig said in a press release Wednesday.
“We will continue to partner with the department and several other federal, state and local agencies as we investigate funeral home concerns in Detroit.”
Ten Detroit funeral homes had already been inspected over the past 15 months, LARA said. With the 33 inspected earlier this month by the quick action team, all of Detroit's 43 funeral homes have been inspected.
No additional serious violations of the mortuary science and prepaid funeral acts were found, and the department made no additional criminal referrals, according to LARA.
Nine of the funeral homes were cited for not renewing their medical waste permits, several for not posting their licenses, and an unspecified number for damage to their walls or floors.
“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,” LARA Director Shelly Edgerton said in a press release.
“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.”
State law requires that funeral homes be inspected only after issuance of a new license, a change of ownership, or in response to a complaint. But Edgerton said LARA has stepped up funeral home inspections across the state.
LARA has recently shifted resources and begun routine inspections with the goal of visiting each of the state’s approximately 717 funeral homes every three years, according to state officials.
LARA has added three new regulators to its mortuary science program, bringing the total to seven, and the department is on track to inspect more than 250 funeral homes in 2018.
In addition to inspecting funeral hones, LARA oversees the practice of approximately 2,135 mortuary science licensees and 82 resident trainees, and has oversight of prepaid funeral contracts.