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Legislative: Prep Room Regulations
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Prep Room Regulations Update

January 31, 2017

 

Below is an explanation for all MFDA members of how the MN Department of Health will be enforcing the 2016 change to the prep room law. If you have any questions on this feel free to contact Joe Sellwood, MFDA's lobbyist at jsellwood@cookgirard.com or contact MDH Directly.

As amended in 2016 149A.92, subd. 1(a) states:


A funeral establishment where no preparation and embalming is performed, but which conducts viewings, visitations, and services, or which holds human remains while awaiting final disposition, need not comply with the minimum standards of this section.

As written this statute does not prohibit bringing un-embalmed remains into a funeral establishment for the purpose of a private family viewing, public visitation, service, or holding of remains while waiting final disposition, even if that funeral establishment does not have a prep room that complies with other requirements of the section.  However, Chapter 149A does include language that requires certain criteria to be in place if one chooses to bring un-embalmed remains into such a facility.

Generally, these provisions address the use of universal precautions; set time limits for holding unembalmed bodies; require the use of refrigeration or dry ice when holding unembalmed bodies; limit viewing of unembalmed bodies; and establish requirements for facilities used to store bodies awaiting final disposition.  I have set forth some of these provisions below for your convenience, along with some comments relating to specific provisions.

Universal Precautions

149A.91
Subdivision 1.Universal precautions.
In handling and preparing dead human bodies for final disposition, any person who comes in direct contact with an unembalmed dead human body or who enters a room where dead human bodies are embalmed, shall use universal precautions and otherwise exercise all reasonable precautions to minimize the risk of transmitting any communicable disease from the body. . . .

MDH comment:  Family members or persons of the public who are not trained in the areas of universal precautions would be at biggest risk. The following areas of the statute puts precautionary measures in place to reduce the risk to the general public.

Viewing and visitation

149A.91
Subd. 3.Embalming or refrigeration required.
(a) A dead human body must be embalmed by a licensed mortician or registered intern or practicum student or clinical student, refrigerated, or packed in dry ice in the following circumstances:. . . .
(2) if final disposition will not be accomplished within 72 hours after death or release of the body by a competent authority with jurisdiction over the body or the body will be lawfully stored for final disposition in the future, except as provided in section 149A.94, subdivision 1;
(3) if the body will be publicly viewed subject to paragraph (b); . . . .

(b) For purposes of this subdivision, "publicly viewed" means reviewal of a dead human body by anyone other than those mentioned in section 149A.80, subdivision 2, and their minor children. Dry ice may only be used when the dead human body is publicly viewed within private property.

MDH comment:  With this language in place un-embalmed remains would either have to be in refrigeration if held waiting final disposition or packed in dry ice in instances where there is a public visitation or services prior to final disposition. Un-embalmed remains could not be prepared on site for cremation following a private family viewing but would have to be transported back to a location where there is a functioning preparation and embalming room.

Period allowed for Refrigeration


149A.91
Subd. 3.Embalming or refrigeration required.
(c) A body may not be kept in refrigeration for a period that exceeds six calendar days, or packed in dry ice for a period that exceeds four calendar days, from the time and release of the body from the place of death or from the time of release from the coroner or medical examiner. . . .

149A.94
Subdivision 1.Generally.
. . . . Where final disposition of a body will not be accomplished within 72 hours following death or release of the body by a competent authority with jurisdiction over the body, the body must be properly embalmed, refrigerated, or packed with dry ice. A body may not be kept in refrigeration for a period exceeding six calendar days, or packed in dry ice for a period that exceeds four calendar days, from the time of death or release of the body from the coroner or medical examiner.

Holding Facilities

149A.91
Subd. 9. Bodies awaiting final disposition.
All bodies awaiting final disposition shall be kept in an appropriate holding facility or preparation and embalming room. The holding facility must be secure from access by anyone except the authorized personnel of the funeral establishment, preserve the dignity and integrity of the body, and protect the health and safety of the personnel of the funeral establishment.

 

 

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