Chapter 8.92


8.92.010    Purpose and Intent.

8.92.020    Definitions.

8.92.030    Payment Authorized.

8.92.040    Administration.

8.92.010 Purpose and Intent.

A.    The purpose and intent of this Chapter is to comply with RCW 36.39.030 in providing for the disposition of the remains of any indigent person including a recipient of public assistance who dies within the county and whose body is unclaimed.

B.    It shall be the responsibility of the Pierce County Department of the Medical Examiner to develop and administer a program to accomplish the purpose and intent of this Chapter.

(Ord. 2004-104 § 1 (part), 2004; Ord. 2002-92 § 1 (part), 2002; Ord. 93-112 § 1 (part), 1993)

8.92.020 Definitions.

A.    "Department" means the Pierce County Department of the Medical Examiner.

B.    "Disposition" means the minimum services necessary to legally bury or cremate human remains.

C.    "Indigent" means the decedent was on public assistance at the time of death, or the decedent's estate is valued at less than $2,500.00.

D.    "Unclaimed" means there is no relative who can be located within the state and who is liable for disposition costs pursuant to RCW 68.50.160, nor is there any other person or entity, excepting funeral homes and/or cemeteries/crematories, or the Medical Examiner, who makes any claim to the remains, or who exerts or attempts to exert any influence over the disposition of the remains.

(Ord. 2004-104 § 1 (part), 2004; Ord. 2002-92 § 1 (part), 2002; Ord. 93-112 § 1 (part), 1993)

8.92.030 Payment Authorized.

A.    The Department is authorized to reimburse a licensed funeral home and/or cemetery/ crematory for the minimum services set by the Department when such funeral home and/or cemetery/crematory has made a proper showing, according to rules devised by the Department, that:

1.    it has, or will lawfully bury or cremate an indigent decedent, and

2.    it made a diligent effort to locate relatives who may choose or are required to provide for the disposition, and

3.    it made a diligent effort to ascertain the extent of the decedent's estate, and

4.    the decedent was at the time of death located in Pierce County, and

5.    the decedent was indigent and the body is unclaimed; PROVIDED, that each such reimbursement shall be conditioned upon a promise by the funeral home and/or cemetery/crematory to reimburse the County dollar for dollar from any funds it may subsequently acquire from any other source for the disposition services performed by it.

B.    The Department shall provide reimbursement for disposition at the uniform rates established by the Department; PROVIDED that reimbursement for cremation shall be provided only upon a proper showing that legal authorization has been obtained. The Director or Director's designee may authorize cremation of indigent remains.

(Ord. 2004-104 § 1 (part), 2004; Ord. 2002-92 § 1 (part), 2002; Ord. 93-112 § 1 (part), 1993)

8.92.040 Administration.

A.    The Department shall develop rules and procedures for the implementation of this Chapter. The rules and procedures shall at a minimum include:

1.    process for obtaining cremation authorization from the Medical Examiner when there is no other person authorized to do so;

2.    procedures for tracing and recovering from decedents' estates after reimbursement has been made, if and when it is cost-effective for the County to do so;

3.    guidelines for the showing required in Section 8.92.030 A., including due diligence in locating persons required or willing to provide for disposition;

4.    procedures for verifying decedents' indigency; and all other rules and procedures which may be necessary and prudent to effectively implement this Chapter;

5.    establishment of uniform rates for services.

(Ord. 2002-92 § 1 (part), 2002; Ord. 93-112 § 1 (part), 1993)