Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder forms multi-department team to address funeral home concerns

Group created to activate state resources when violations found

Cantrell Funeral Home in Detroit. (WDIV)

LANSING, Mich. – Due to an increase in complaints and case complexity seen by Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) mortuary science regulators, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder has formed a new team of multiple state departments to address concerns regarding funeral homes across the state.

The team is made up of staff members from LARA, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, Michigan State Police and the Department of Environmental Quality.

Snyder said 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 and amid complaints from the public.

“Michigan families deserve and expect their loved ones to be properly cared for, and we have laws that must be followed to ensure that,” Snyder said. “This multi-department quick-response team will help hold funeral homes to the highest standards and protect the public’s health and safety.”

State officials said LARA also has detailed three new regulators to its mortuary science program, bringing the total to seven. The program oversees the practice of around 2,135 mortuary science licensees, 82 resident trainees and 751 funeral homes. LARA also has oversight over pre-paid funeral contracts.

LARA also will be relying on other areas in its department on an as-needed basis to address health professionals, health facility and worker safety concerns, state officials said.

“We have seen a recent spike in complaints from consumers and others in the funeral home industry, and unfortunately, these allegations have led to several horrific discoveries,” LARA Director Shelly Edgerton said. “I thank the governor for organizing this team that will focus on holding funeral homes accountable and safeguarding a family’s right to have their loved one put to rest in a dignified and respectful manner.”

State officials said the resources and expertise of other departments include:

  • MDHHS: Responsible for various aspects of the Public Health Code and oversight of the state’s emergency services for burials.
  • DEQ: Responsible for the registration of medical waste producing facilities and the regulation of other environmental laws.
  • MSP: Responsible for criminal investigations including fraud.

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