Franklin County may have received the largest proposed increase for services ever in the history of the county.
For 23 years, St. Louis University has provided medical examiner services for Franklin County. The county is paying $288,005 this year for medical services. For 2018, St. Louis University has proposed an increase of slightly more than $100,000!
That’s more than a 34 percent increase.
Presiding Commissioner John Griesheimer, shocked at the amount of the increase, said the county is going to look at all options, which are few. As a first-class county, Franklin is required to have a medical examiner. The only medical examiner the county has ever had has been St. Louis University. Other counties in the St. Louis metro area also use St. Louis University, and received proposed increases for 2018 also. Jefferson County’s increase is about $200,000. It has more cases than Franklin County.
The medical examiner is a board certified forensic pathologist who is appointed by the county commission to investigate sudden, unexpected, suspicious, unnatural or violent deaths. Deaths of this nature can cause a concern to public health and safety. In the last 10 years, the medical examiner’s office performed 757 exams or autopsies on deaths in the county. Last year, 89 of those exams were performed.
One option Franklin County will pursue is for the counties that received large hikes to band together to take these services elsewhere.
The proposed increase is not only a blow to county commissioners, but to taxpayers.