County Announces New Agreement to Provide Medical Examiner Services to La Crosse County
September 10, 2013
Casey Slaughter Becker, Office of the County Executive 608.267.8823, or cell, 608.843.8858
Dane County will provide medical examiner services to La Crosse county for the remainder of 2013 under a new intergovernmental agreement that will increase the county’s development of regional service and help save taxpayer money, Dane County Executive Joe Parisi announced today.
Dane County converted to a professional Medical Examiner’s Office in 2011 and since then has performed death investigation and autopsy work for a number of Wisconsin counties, providing a regional network for the specialty work of forensic pathology. The office, led by Dr. Vincent Tranchida, conducted nearly 1300 death investigations last year – nearly 200 more than just two years earlier.
“The Dane County Medical Examiner’s Office continues to innovate to provide quality, professional work that benefits families and law enforcement in Dane County and in many counties throughout Wisconsin,” said Parisi. “This new agreement will allow our office to maintain that service in the face of rising caseloads and save taxpayer money.”
The Dane County Media Examiner’s Office has been providing autopsy and forensic services to La Crosse County since 2011. Following the retirement of the La Crosse County Medical Examiner this year, La Crosse and Dane Counties are expanding their partnership further. The new partnership would include administrative services and long-term strategic planning.
“We are very proud of our strong working relationship with La Crosse County. The opportunity to share resources and develop a closer association with their office is one that will ultimately benefit both counties,” said Dr. Vincent Tranchida, Dane County Medical Examiner. “Partnerships and mutual assistance can only serve to help the practice of forensic investigation, and in turn, the public at large.”
“Our County began using the Dane County Medical Examiner’s office to perform autopsies and our District Attorney has used the professional services of Dr. Tranchida for expert testimony in a couple of major criminal trials,” said Steve O’Malley, La Crosse County Administrator. “Now, this Intergovernmental Agreement will allow us to gain an independent review of our policies and procedures for greater standardization.”
O’Malley added, “This work may lead to defining a longer term relationship between our two counties that permits La Crosse to gain access to a higher level of forensic expertise than we would be able to provide on our own.”
Revenue from the new intergovernmental agreement will help offset the costs of hiring a Lead Medicolegal Investigator for the Dane County Medical Examiner’s Office. This position will conduct death investigations and help address the increased case volume and case complexity the department has experienced.
The last full time death investigator was added to the department in 2004. Since that time, the department has seen a more than 27% increase in overall caseloads. In 2012, suicides, homicides, and accidental deaths represented 31.8% of the department’s caseload – cases that are generally more complicated and consume significantly more investigator time.
To go into effect, the agreement must be approved by the La Crosse County Board and the Dane County Board respectively. The La Crosse County board approved the agreement last month. The Dane County Board could approve the agreement as early as their October 3rd meeting.
“With the national shortage of forensic pathologists, I am proud that Dane County is creating a regional facility that can be used by additional counties in Wisconsin, including LaCrosse County,” said Supervisor Paul Rusk, Chair of the Dane County Board’s Public Protection and Judiciary Committee. “This not only benefits Dane County taxpayers, but it provides an invaluable resource to neighboring counties so families and law enforcement have access to the best possible forensic services when tragedy strikes. We need to work together with our neighbors in these difficult economic times so everybody benefits.”
" I am proud go the quality of medical services we have in Dane County. The professionalism and respect that Dr. Tranchida and his staff bring to their job is second to none, and our fellow counties have taken notice and are now supplementing Dane County funding through utilization of our services,” said Supervisor Carousel Bayrd, Vice Chair of the Public Protection and Judiciary Committee. “This is county government at its best— cooperation of services between counties to save taxpayer money through efficiencies, while maintaining top quality services our citizens expect."
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