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Brief summary of the bill

SB2643, also known as the "Reestablishing Integrity in Death Care Act," is a bill that aims to regulate the handling of deceased bodies and human remains in the state of Illinois.

A. Unique Identifiers: Starting from January 1, 2025, when someone passes away in Illinois, their body, any body parts, and organs for non transplant organ donation must have a special label (unique identifier). This helps keep track of them.

B. Chain of Custody: There will be a record (chain of custody documentation) that shows who handled the body and where it went. This helps ensure everything is done properly.

C. Inspections: State officials, like the State Comptroller and health departments, can check on businesses and places that deal with dead bodies to make sure they follow these rules.

D. Rulemaking: The government can make more detailed rules to make sure this law works.

E. Changes to Other Laws: This bill changes some other laws too. It adjusts rules for funeral directors, crematories, and how death records are kept.

F. Definitions: The bill explains what different words mean, like "funeral director," "embalming," and "funeral establishment." It helps make sure everyone understands the same thing.

G. Address Updates: If someone changes their address, they need to tell the Comptroller within 14 days. This keeps their information up-to-date.

H. Alternative Container: This is a special box used to transport remains for cremation, not a regular casket.

I. Cremation Authorization: A funeral director or someone from the funeral home must sign a form to allow cremation. They just witness the signing; they're not responsible for the information on the form.

J. Liability: The people handling cremations are usually not responsible unless they are very careless (gross negligence).

K. Revoking Cremation: If someone changes their mind after authorizing cremation, they can cancel it in writing before the process starts.

L. Identification: The crematory must have a system to ensure they know whose remains they are working with.

M. Time Limits: Bodies can't wait too long without being cremated unless they are stored in a cool place.

N. Fetal Deaths: The bill also deals with how fetal deaths are recorded. If a baby dies before birth, there are rules for that too.

O. Informant: The person responsible for the body (like a funeral director) fills out a form with details about the deceased person and how they will be laid to rest.

P. Coroner or Medical Examiner: Sometimes, a special doctor (coroner or medical examiner) has to check why someone died. They also fill out a form.

This bill is about making sure that when someone passes away, everything is done correctly, and their remains are treated with respect. It sets clear rules and standards to protect the dignity and integrity of the deceased and provide accountability for those handling their remains.

Authors/proponents & contact info

Sen. Doris turner

Member of the Illinois Senate


Following a long and productive tenure on the Springfield City Council and Sangamon County Board, Senator Doris Turner was appointed to represent the 48th Legislative District in February of 2021.

She is a past member of the Springfield /Sangamon County Regional Planning Commission, Springfield/Sangamon County Health Initiative Board of Directors, Voices for Illinois Children Springfield Leadership Team, Chamber of Commerce Q5 Initiative Diversity Council, Medics First Board of Directors, and a founding board member of the Southern Illinois University Federally Qualified Health Center.

She is a current member of the Sangamon County Board of Health, Friends of Sangamon County Drug Court, and co-chair of the Springfield High Speed Railroad Community Advisory Commission. Senator Turner is a lifelong resident of Springfield.

A recent retiree after working 33 years for the State of Illinois with twenty-two of those with the Department of Public Health, she has spent her entire career working to enhance the lives of those around her and looks forward to continuing this work in the state Senate.

Senator Turner is a member of Greater All Nations Tabernacle Church of God in Christ. She and her husband, Cecil, have three children, ten grandchildren and five great grandchildren.

Springfield Office:
Senator 48th District Stratton Office Building
Section F, Room B Springfield, IL 62706
(217) 782-0228

District Office:
1210 South Jasper Decatur, IL 62521
(217) 726-5311

Who does the bill affect?

This legislation imposes new requirements, including the affixing of unique identifiers and the maintenance of chain of custody documentation for deceased bodies, body parts, and tissues used in nontransplant organ donation.
The bill impacts funeral directors, embalmers, medical professionals, and individuals responsible for the handling and reporting of deceased individuals.

It aims to enhance the integrity and accountability in the death care industry to prevent misidentification and ensure compliance with regulations, ultimately safeguarding the dignity of the deceased and public health.

Top 9 Things You Must Understand

1. Unique Identifier Requirement: How will the new unique identifier requirement impact our daily procedures for handling deceased bodies and remains?

  • The new law requires that a special mark or code be placed on the body, body bag, or any body part separated from a deceased person. This mark helps in keeping track of each body and its parts. This rule applies to all bodies that come to the funeral home, and it should be done from the moment the body is received until it's ready for the final disposition, like burial or cremation, if it occurs within the state. This ensures that each body is uniquely identified to prevent any mix-ups or confusion.
  • So, funeral home operators will need to ensure that a special mark, like tags, numbers, or codes, is affixed to each body, bag, or separated body part. They must also maintain this identification until the body is ready for its final resting place. This helps in complying with the law and ensures that everything is organized and respectful for the families they are assisting.
  • In summary, the new law requires funeral home operators to place a unique identifier on each deceased body and its related parts and to maintain this identification until the final disposition, ensuring proper organization and adherence to legal requirements.

2. Chain of Custody Documentation: What specific documentation will be required to maintain the chain of custody for bodies and remains, and how will this affect our record-keeping practices?

In summary, funeral service providers and related facilities in Illinois will need to adhere to these detailed record-keeping practices, affixing unique identifiers to bodies and human remains and maintaining comprehensive documentation to track the continuous location and control of these remains.

This is aimed at ensuring the integrity and proper handling of deceased individuals throughout the process leading up to their final disposition.

  • The new law, known as the Reestablishing Integrity in Death Care Act, mandates specific documentation requirements to maintain the chain of custody for deceased bodies and human remains. This will have a significant impact on record-keeping practices within the funeral industry. Here are the key details:
  • Continuous Location and Control Record: Chain of custody documentation refers to a comprehensive record that establishes the continuous location and control of a dead body, body parts, or human remains throughout the entire process, from the time the funeral director takes control of the deceased individual's body until the last feasible moment before final disposition.
  • Deceased's Unique Identifier: The documentation must include a unique identifier assigned to the deceased individual. This unique identifier, which can be in the form of tags, numbers, QR codes, or other individualized means, must be affixed to the dead body, body bag, and any body part, organ, or tissue separated from the deceased for nontransplant organ donation.
  • List of Death Care Providers: The documentation should list each death care provider that comes into contact with the dead body. This includes the names of individuals or organizations involved in providing services related to the deceased, such as funeral homes, crematories, or transport services.
  • Detailed Service Records: The documentation must include a list of each service performed on the deceased individual. This should specify the provider responsible for each service, the location where the service was performed, and the date on which it took place.
  • Signature of the Individual: The documentation must be signed by the individual who executes the final disposition of the deceased. This signature affirms that all necessary procedures and services have been completed in accordance with the law.
  • Enforcement by Regulatory Authorities: The Department of Financial and Professional Regulation is responsible for enforcing the chain of custody requirement on all industries under its jurisdiction that participate in the handling of dead bodies or human remains. This enforcement ensures compliance with the new law.

3. Inspections: How often can we expect inspections from the State Comptroller, the Department of Financial and Professional Regulation, and the Department of Public Health, and what will they be looking for during these inspections?

As a funeral home owner, you might wonder how often the State Comptroller, the Department of Financial and Professional Regulation, and the Department of Public Health will inspect your facility and what they'll be checking for.

According to the Reestablishing Integrity in Death Care Act (SB2643), these inspections are authorized to ensure compliance with the new law and its rules. However, the frequency of these inspections is not explicitly mentioned in the bill.

It's essential to be prepared for periodic inspections to confirm that your funeral home is following the law's requirements. During these inspections, state authorities will likely focus on several key aspects:

  • Unique Identifiers: They will check whether each deceased individual's body, body bag, and any body part, organ, or tissue designated for nontransplant organ donation has been affixed with a unique identifier, as mandated by the law.
  • Chain of Custody Documentation: Inspectors will review your record-keeping practices to ensure that you have maintained the required chain of custody documentation for all dead bodies and human remains. This documentation should establish the continuous location and control of the deceased from the time your funeral home takes custody until the last feasible moment before final disposition.
  • Compliance with the Act: Authorities will verify that your funeral home is complying with all aspects of the Reestablishing Integrity in Death Care Act and the associated rules. This includes the proper use of unique identifiers, record-keeping, and adherence to any other provisions outlined in the law.

To stay prepared for these inspections, make sure your funeral home maintains meticulous records, adheres to the law's requirements for unique identifiers, and stays informed about any updates or guidelines issued by the state agencies involved.

While the exact frequency of inspections isn't specified in the bill, being proactive in compliance will help you meet any inspection requirements that may arise.

4. Compliance Costs: Are there any additional costs associated with compliance, such as obtaining and affixing unique identifiers or implementing new record-keeping systems?

As a funeral home owner, you might wonder about the costs associated with complying with the Reestablishing Integrity in Death Care Act (SB2643). 

This law requires affixing unique identifiers to deceased individuals and maintaining chain of custody documentation. While the bill doesn't explicitly mention the specific costs, there are some potential expenses to consider:

  1. **Unique Identifiers**: The law mandates affixing unique identifiers to deceased bodies, body bags, and body parts for nontransplant organ donation. These identifiers may involve obtaining special tags or labels. While the bill doesn't specify the cost, you may need to budget for these identifiers.
  2. **Record-Keeping Systems**: To maintain proper chain of custody documentation, you may need to implement or update your record-keeping systems. This could include investing in software or documentation materials. The bill doesn't detail the exact system requirements, so you should assess your current practices and determine if any upgrades are necessary.
  3. **Inspection Costs**: The State Comptroller, the Department of Financial and Professional Regulation, and the Department of Public Health may inspect your funeral home for compliance. While inspections themselves don't come with direct fees, you should be prepared to allocate resources for staff time and potential corrective actions if any compliance issues are identified during inspections.

It's essential to review your current practices, assess the potential costs, and budget accordingly to ensure compliance with SB2643.

Additionally, staying informed about any guidance or regulations provided by the state agencies involved can help you navigate the compliance process more effectively.

While the bill doesn't specify precise costs, being proactive in your compliance efforts will be essential to avoid any potential penalties or issues in the future.

5. Training Requirements: Will our staff need additional training to ensure compliance with the new regulations, especially concerning embalming and anatomical donations?

To stay on the right side of the law, it's crucial to keep an eye out for any training recommendations or requirements that the government agencies (like the Department of Financial and Professional Regulation and the Department of Public Health) might issue as they develop the rules to enforce the new law.

Remember, the goal of these rules is to ensure the integrity of death care, so investing in training for your staff will not only help you comply with the law but also provide better service to your clients during these sensitive times.

  • Training Requirements: Yes, it's likely that your staff will need some extra training to make sure you're following the new regulations. The law says that starting no later than January 1, 2025, all dead bodies and human remains must have a unique identifier and chain of custody documentation. This means you'll need to know how to use these identifiers and maintain the documentation properly.
  • Embalming: While the law doesn't specifically mention embalming, it's a good idea to make sure your staff is well-trained in embalming techniques because it's a common practice in the funeral industry. Proper embalming is important to preserve the deceased's body. You might want to consider refresher courses or training sessions to ensure your staff is up to date.
  • Anatomical Donations: If your funeral home deals with anatomical donations (like donating organs for medical purposes), you should ensure your staff knows how to handle these donations correctly. The law doesn't go into great detail on this, so reaching out to relevant organizations or associations for guidance might be helpful.

6. Liability: How will the bill impact our liability in the event of any issues or discrepancies with the handling of deceased bodies and remains?

You might be worried about how the new Reestablishing Integrity in Death Care Act (SB2643) will affect your liability if there are problems with handling deceased bodies and remains. Let me explain:

  • Impact on Liability: This new law is designed to make sure that the handling of deceased bodies and remains is done with care and transparency. It requires unique identifiers and chain of custody documentation for all bodies and remains. This can actually help reduce your liability because it ensures a clear record of who had control of the deceased individuals and their remains.
  • Transparency: By following the rules and keeping proper documentation, you can show that you've been responsible in your duties. If there are any issues or discrepancies, having this information can protect you from liability because you can prove that you followed the law.
  • Government Oversight: The State Comptroller, the Department of Financial and Professional Regulation, and the Department of Public Health can inspect your business to check if you're following the law. While inspections might seem daunting, they are there to make sure everyone is doing things right. If you're following the rules, these inspections should not increase your liability.
  • Proper Training: To further reduce liability, make sure your staff is well-trained in the new requirements. This way, you can be confident that your team knows how to handle everything correctly, reducing the chances of mistakes that might lead to liability.

In summary, if you follow the new rules carefully, maintain the necessary documentation, and ensure your staff is trained, the Reestablishing Integrity in Death Care Act should not increase your liability.

Instead, it can help protect you by promoting transparency and accountability in the handling of deceased bodies and remains.

7. Revoking Cremation Authorizations: How do we handle situations where families want to revoke cremation authorizations after the process has started, and what are the associated procedures?

Revoking Cremation Authorizations: Sometimes, families may change their minds after giving permission for cremation. Under SB2643, if a family wants to revoke the cremation authorization after it has started, you should follow these steps:

  • Family Request: First, listen to the family's request carefully. If they wish to revoke the authorization, be understanding and respectful of their wishes during this emotional time.
  • Check the Form: Review the cremation authorization form. It's crucial to see if the form specifies any conditions for revocation. If it does, follow those conditions.
  • Time Limits: SB2643 allows for a 30-day waiting period. If the authorization form doesn't specify final disposition or if the cremated remains are to be held for 30 days, you can wait for that period to see if the family changes their mind.
  • Notify the Family: Keep the family informed throughout the process. If the cremated remains were held, let them know when they can pick them up. If the remains were scattered or interred, you can't revoke the process.
  • Document Everything: Ensure all communication and actions are well-documented to avoid any misunderstandings or disputes later on.
  • Compassion: Be compassionate and sensitive to the family's needs and feelings throughout this process.

Remember, SB2643 aims to maintain transparency and respect for families' wishes. By following these steps, you can handle situations where families want to revoke cremation authorizations with care and respect.

8. Identification System: What type of identification system will we need to implement to ensure we can identify human remains throughout the cremation process?

To make sure we can properly identify human remains throughout the cremation process, we must implement a good Identification System as required by the Reestablishing Integrity in Death Care Act (SB2643). Here's how we can do it:

  • Unique Identifier: SB2643 mandates that a unique identifier should be assigned to each body, body bag, and any separated body part, organ, or tissue that might be used for nontransplant organ donation. This identifier will help us keep track of human remains.
  • Chain of Custody Documentation: The law also requires us to maintain a chain of custody documentation. This documentation should follow the human remains from the time we, as funeral directors, take control of them until the moment of final disposition or when they are returned to the State. This chain of custody record is like a special paper trail that helps us keep tabs on the remains.
  • Written Instructions: We should have written instructions to ensure that the human remains are properly handled and identified. These instructions should be communicated to the crematory authority before the cremation process begins.
  • Recordkeeping: Our funeral home should maintain detailed records of all cremated remains disposed of by the crematory authority. This record helps us track what happens to the remains.
  • Cremation Authorization Form: When we receive authorization for cremation, we need to ensure that the form is properly filled out and specifies all necessary details.
  • Cemetery and Burial Transit Permit: If the cremated remains are to be interred, entombed, inurned, or placed in a scattering area, we need to maintain the cemetery and burial transit permit, which must be filed as required by the Illinois Vital Records Act.
  • Cooling Unit: If we're holding un-embalmed human remains that cannot be cremated within 24 hours, we must provide or maintain a cooling unit capable of maintaining a temperature of less than 40 degrees Fahrenheit.

By following these steps and complying with the law's requirements.

9. Time Limits for Cremation: How will we manage the time limits for cremation, especially when we don't have the necessary refrigeration facilities to store un-embalmed bodies for extended periods?

Managing time limits for cremation, especially when we don't have refrigeration facilities, is important to comply with the Reestablishing Integrity in Death Care Act (SB2643). Here's how we can handle it:

  • Lapse of Time: The law says that generally, the time between death and cremation should not be less than 24 hours unless there's a known infectious disease or religious requirement. So, we must ensure that we plan cremations with this timeframe in mind.
  • Schedule Convenience: SB2643 gives crematory authorities the right to schedule cremations at their convenience once human remains are delivered. However, we should always keep our clients' wishes in mind and follow any specific instructions they provide on the cremation authorization form.
  • Cooling Unit: If we can't cremate unembalmed bodies within 24 hours, we must have a cooling unit capable of maintaining a temperature below 40 degrees Fahrenheit. This ensures the bodies are preserved safely until cremation.
  • Communication: We should communicate clearly with clients about the expected timeline for cremation. If there are any delays due to the 24-hour requirement, we should explain this to the family and ensure they understand.
  • Proactive Planning: To avoid last-minute issues, we should have a well-organized system for receiving human remains, completing required documentation promptly, and scheduling cremations efficiently.
  • By following these steps and staying in compliance with SB2643, we can manage the time limits for cremation, even when refrigeration facilities are not available. This way, we can provide a respectful and compliant service to our clients while adhering to the law.
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