- Associated Press - Thursday, February 11, 2016

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - The West Virginia Medical Examiner’s Office has been working to crack down on a backlog of cases and seek accreditation.

“We’re talking policies, procedures, and ensuring we have adequate staff available to raise those standards like never before,” said Dr. Rahul Gupta, the Commissioner for the Bureau of Public Health.

Gupta oversees the Charleston office and said staffing has been a roadblock to accreditation in the years past, WVVA-TV reported (bit.ly/1o6iG1M). In 2015, he added two pathologists to the staff and cut the backlog on autopsies by more than half, from 700 open cases to 300.

Gupta said the office has also taken the backlog of cases more than three months old from 450 to 56.

“It’s important to note that there’s a backlog of cases, but also a constant number of new cases coming in. So it’s a moving target,” Gupta said.

While accreditation isn’t a requirement for pathologists to serve as an expert witness, Gupta said accreditation is something he hopes the department will accomplish within the next few years.

In 2015, the medical examiner’s office completed 1,236 autopsies.

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Information from: WVVA-TV, http://www.wvva.com

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