“It’s been a long-standing problem for us as a state,” Medical Examiner’s office could be on the move

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There's new hope for the much maligned State Medical Examiner's office.

A new bill may lay the groundwork for relocation of the run down headquarters.

The move could provide much needed help for an office that hasn't been accredited for some time.

It's been a thorn in the state's side for years.

"[The office] actually would not pass accreditation for a veterinary clinic," said Amy Elliott with the Medical Examiner's office.

"It's been a long-standing problem for us as a state," said State Senator Clark Jolley, (R)-Edmond.

The new hope for the new headquarter's location is courtesy of senate bill 866.

"We found a way to save the state $17,000,000 and, hopefully, get the accreditation back more quickly," Jolley said.

Their accreditation may be earned at the Oklahoma City County Health Department.

The Commissioners of the Land Office agreed to buy the building now that the health department is on their way out.

"We have such a large county in Oklahoma County. It didn't make a lot of sense for [the health department], in their mind, to have a central facility. It made a lot more sense to go into satellite facilities," Jolley said. "So, that left a building that was vacant, that we could purchase."

The ME's office won't be packing their bags just yet.

A bill signed years ago stipulates their new building must be built near or on the grounds of the University of Central Oklahoma's campus in Edmond.

That $40,000,000 plan never came to fruition.

"I can't say enough good things about UCO, but it just proved to be incredibly difficult and time consuming," Jolley said. "Senate Bill 866 allows for us to repeal the requirement that it sit on the campus of UCO."

It's a repeal Governor Mary Fallin, who serves as CLO chairman, is all for.

“This action today gives the state a very good option to move the state medical examiner’s office into a new facility and out of its old, cramped and dilapidated building. It lacks sufficient space for staff and agency operations, and it can’t be expanded. Today’s approval is a vital step in winning back accreditation for the medical examiner’s office, which conducts the important work of determining the cause of death for victims of violent or suspicious deaths.”

Senate Bill 866 will be presented at the next legislative session in 2016.

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