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L.A. County boosts fees for handling of dead bodies

Board of Supervisors increases cap from $200 to $400 after coroner reports rising costs of transporting and handling bodies. No fees are charged for crime victims, the indigent and those under 14.

March 23, 2011|By Rong-Gong Lin II, Los Angeles Times

Los Angeles County's fee to transport and handle dead bodies is going up from a cap of $200 to a maximum of $400.

The county Board of Supervisors unanimously approved the fee increase Tuesday, accepting the coroner's office's assertion that transportation and handling costs have gone up since the fee was enacted in 1991.

Approved billing rates for the current fiscal year, which ends this summer, will only go up to $312.12, according to a coroner's staff report.

"The increased fee … will ensure the department is reimbursed for all costs incurred," the staff report said.

The fee is not imposed on the indigent poor or people who are killed by another person's criminal act, unless the deceased was involved in a crime that contributed to his death. No fee is assessed for transportation of anyone 14 or younger.

Craig Harvey, chief of operations for the coroner's office, said all trauma-related and nonnatural deaths are under the purview of the coroner. The coroner's office is involved in about 1 in 3 deaths in L.A. County; most people die while under the care of a physician and of natural disease.

ron.lin@latimes.com

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