Bucks Coroner Seeks National Accreditation for Forensic Facility
Bucks County Coroner Meredith Buck has announced that she is seeking national accreditation for the Bucks County Forensic Facility for the first time in its long history. Accreditation requires an office to demonstrate it meets the national standards for death investigation set by the International Association of Coroners and Medical Examiners (IACME). Bucks County would be only the sixth coroner’s office in Pennsylvania to achieve accreditation and the first in the Philadelphia area.
“I’ve dedicated the last few years to making the Bucks County Coroner’s Office the best it can be,” said Coroner Buck. “Now I’m ready to have national experts come in and independently verify that we meet the high standards required for accreditation. Accreditation means Bucks County residents can have full confidence in the quality and integrity of our death investigations.”
Accreditation requires a forensic facility to prove it meets standards in five different areas: medicolegal office practices, investigative practices, morgue facilities, laboratory services, and forensic specialists. Once an office provides electronic documentation of meeting each standard, two auditors from the IACME conduct an onsite visit. Once granted, accreditation is valid for five years, after which a re-accreditation process is required to prove the office continues to be in compliance.
“An essential part of getting accredited is having a modern electronic case management system,” said Buck. “I’ve installed an innovative and updated system in this office that will meet national standards. Another requirement is showing that our investigators are fully qualified in medicolegal death investigation. To that end, my office has a training coordinator to ensure our investigators are on-track for national certification by the American Board of Medicolegal Death Investigators.”
Buck, an attorney with 22 years’ experience and a registered nurse recipient of the international Florence Nightingale Medal, is running for a second term as Coroner. Since the beginning of her first term in January 2020, she has overseen the investigation of more than 7,000 death cases, issued over 12,000 cremation permits, and shepherded the office through the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Bucks County Coroner’s Office is an independent agency serving the residents and honoring the deceased of the county by identifying decedents and determining the cause and manner of death of all sudden, unexplained, and violent deaths in Bucks County.
Buck is seeking a second term in office in Tuesday’s primary election