Colorado has been in the spotlight again since recent media articles called attention to the business practices and eventual summary suspension of Sunset Mesa Funeral Directors in Montrose by the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA).
The incidents that took place at this particular business are isolated and not at all representative of the hundreds of Colorado funeral establishments and crematories that are registered with DORA.
Sunset Mesa Funeral Directors is not a member of the Colorado Funeral Directors Association and its employees are not accredited by the Colorado Funeral Service Board.
For some families, the act of donating a loved one’s organs or even their whole body for the purpose of medical research is a meaningful and healing gesture. As funeral directors, we support families that want to honor their loved one in this way. Families that are interested in donation should do so with a reputable organization that is properly accredited by the American Association of Tissue Banks. This is a discussion that families can have well in advance of a death when there is ample time to do research.
The LATTS (Labeling and Transporting Tissues Safety Act of 2017 (H.R. 2022)
There is a concerning lack of uniform regulation and standards of tissue banks – which collect and recover whole human bodies, as well as cadaver tissue for medical research and education. Rep. Paul Gosar introduced H.R. 2022: The LATTS Act to enact public health safety measures to ensure the proper labeling and transportation of human tissue specimen in interstate commerce. This is a bill that NFDA strongly supports.
Choosing to donate a loved one’s body or tissues for medical education and research is a noble gesture. Without such donations, medical students could not properly study human anatomy. We also would not have some of the medical procedures, devices or medications that save tens of thousands of lives every day. We support this bill because we want to ensure that families who donate can do so knowing that their loved one’s gift will be safely and ethically used.
The LATTS Act:
- Prohibits the sale of human tissue for research or education unless the seller has a non-transplant tissue bank license and each package of tissue is labeled with specified information.
- Directs the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) to establish a process for the approval, suspension, and revocation of non-transplant tissue bank licenses.
- Prohibits falsely labeling packages of human tissue.
- Allows HHS or any accrediting body authorized by HHS to enter and inspect any establishment engaged in the preparation of any human tissue specimen.
- Requires HHS to recall any human tissue specimen that is an imminent or substantial hazard to public health.
Click here to view a PDF list of accredited organizations.