Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office Receives Annual Accreditation

February 16, 2018

The County Medical Examiner’s Office has received national, full accreditation for 2018 from the National Association of Medical Examiners, known as NAME.

Accreditation recognizes that the office has met or exceeds national standards in key areas of operations, staffing and procedures.

The office regained full national accreditation in 2016 for the first time since 2011. The accreditation is verified annually.  

Since 2012, the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office has instituted new policies and procedures, raised expectations of employee performance and upgraded operations and technology.

The County has also invested in the office through additional staffing and equipment. A state-of-the-art cooler has replaced 30-year-old infrastructure and the office now uses a cutting-edge, cloud-based case management system that tracks each case from the moment it’s called into the office until the decedent is released to a funeral home.

“With the support of President Preckwinkle and the Board of Commissioners, our office has met the standards for the most rigorous criteria in the country for a medicolegal death investigation system,” Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Ponni Arunkumar said. “We have done this in a fiscally responsible manner while improving services, modernizing the office and increasing transparency.”

Full national accreditation reinforces the institutional integrity of the Medical Examiner’s office.

It also:

  • Inspires public confidence that best practices are in place and are being followed.
  • Provides credibility when of our pathologists has to testify in court.
  • Demonstrates that key standards and measures are being followed to ensure that pathologists’ caseloads allow for quality work.
  • Puts us into play for grant funding and sustains our fellowship program.

The Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office is the only medical examiner system in the state of Illinois. A medical examiner is a forensic pathologist with specialized training. The office investigates nearly 6,000 cases per year.