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L.A. County doubles coroner's maximum fee for handling bodies

March 22, 2011 |  1:15 pm

Autopsy table at L.A. County coroner's office. Credit: Carolyn Cole/Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles County’s fee to transport and handle dead bodies is going up from a cap of $200 to a maximum of $400.

The County Board of Supervisors approved the fee increase unanimously Tuesday, accepting the coroner's office's explanation that transport and handling costs have gone up since the fee was enacted in 1991.
Click to read the county assessment of fees
Approved billing rates, however, for the current fiscal year that ends this summer will only go up to $312.12, according to a staff report.

“The increased fee … will ensure the department is reimbursed for all costs incurred,” the staff report said.

The fee  is not imposed on the indigent poor, or people who are deemed to be killed by a criminal act of another, unless the deceased was involved in a crime that contributed to his death. No fee is assessed for transportation of anyone 14 or younger. 

Craig Harvey, chief of operations for the coroner’s office, said all trauma-related and nonnatural deaths are under the purview of the coroner. The coroner’s office is involved in about one in three deaths in L.A. County; most people die while under the care of a physician and of natural disease.


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-- Rong-Gong Lin II reporting from the Los Angeles County Hall of Administration

Photo:  An autopsy table at the Los Angeles County coroner's office. Credit: Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times