Cook County Medical Examiner's Office earns full national accreditation
The Cook County Medical Examiner's office recently earned full accreditation from the National Association of Medical Examiners (NAME), Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle said this week.
“It gives me great pleasure to announce that for the first time since 2011, the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office has achieved full accreditation,” Preckwinkle said. “This announcement speaks to the institutional integrity of the Medical Examiner’s office, but most importantly, it should serve as an assurance to those whose loved ones pass through the Medical Examiner’s Office that the deceased are treated with dignity, care and respect.”
County officials have been actively seeking the designation for more than three years. The county medical examiner has held provisional accreditation for two years, but has now been confirmed as meeting or exceeding standards for operations, employee management and procedures.
Chief Cook County Medical Examiner Dr. Stephen Cina leads the office. County officials said Cina helped lead the push for modernization, high standards and a progressive office culture.
“With the support of President Preckwinkle and the Board of Commissioners, our office has met the standards set by NAME for full accreditation, the most rigorous criteria in the country for a medico-legal death investigation system,” Cina said. “We have done this in a fiscally responsible manner, adding new technology and staffing, while still operating at a budgetary level that is more than $5 million below what is expected for a NAME-accredited office serving a population of over 5 million people.”
The Cook County Medical Examiner's Office was established in 1976 to conduct autopsies and other post-death examinations for Cook County residents and public authorities. The office investigates about 4,500 deaths each year.