State Quick Action Team Inspects All Detroit Funeral Homes, No Serious Violations Found

Citywide inspections done at the request of the Detroit Police Department Task Force

Media Contact: LARA Communications 517-373-9280
Email: mediainfo@michigan.gov

November 14, 2018 – At the request of Detroit Police Chief James Craig and due to recent violations found at Cantrell and Perry Funeral Homes in Detroit, the Dept. of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) made a concerted effort to ensure that all Detroit funeral homes were recently inspected.

Last week, LARA regulators as part of a quick action team called for by Gov. Rick Snyder, completed their citywide inspection of all 43 homes. They found no additional serious violations of the mortuary science and pre-paid funeral acts, and the department made no additional criminal referrals.

Of the 43 inspections, ten were completed within the last 15 months with the remaining 33 inspections done during the last two weeks. There were lesser violations recently discovered which included nine cases of non-renewal of medical waste permits, and several instances involving the improper posting of licenses, and damage to the walls and flooring of the establishments.

“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,” said LARA Director Shelly Edgerton. “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.”

Although state law only requires funeral homes to be inspected following a new license, change in ownership or a complaint, 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. LARA has also detailed three new regulators to its mortuary science program, bringing the total to seven. The department is now on track to inspect more than 250 homes in 2018. In addition to funeral home regulation, the program also oversees the practice of approximately 2,135 mortuary science licensees and 82 resident trainees. LARA also has oversight over pre-paid funeral contracts.

“I thank LARA for their prompt regulatory inspections of funeral homes across the city, which have provided us with invaluable insights,” said Chief Craig. “We will continue to partner with the department and several other federal, state and local agencies as we investigate funeral home concerns in Detroit.”

LARA, as a regulatory agency, has no criminal enforcement powers. When the department determines that one of its regulatory actions could result in criminal charges, those cases are referred to either the Michigan Attorney General’s office or local law enforcement. LARA’s regulatory investigations into Cantrell and Perry remain open.

Earlier this month, Gov. Rick Snyder formed a new team of multiple state departments to address concerns regarding funeral homes across the state. The team is comprised of staff from LARA, Michigan Dept. of Health and Human Services, Michigan State Police, and the Dept. of Environmental Quality. The team was formed due to an increase in complaints and case complexity seen by LARA’s mortuary science regulators. The team will quickly communicate and connect state resources and expertise when violations of funeral home regulations or other state laws are discovered during inspections or related to complaints from the public.

Members of the public who have questions or concerns regarding the operation of Michigan’s funeral homes should contact LARA at 517-241-7000, or by email at funeralhomes@michigan.gov.

For more information about LARA, please visit www.michigan.gov/lara

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