As effort to reform death investigation system begins, KNKX looks outside WA for solutions

KCMS CEO, Nancy L. Belcher, talks with KNKX’s Kari Plog on reforming the death investigation system in Washington state.


There is a real effort brewing to heavily reform the system, led by Nancy Belcher of the King County Medical Society.

Lobbying for uniform death investigations statewide has been among the group’s top priorities since Belcher took over as CEO a few years ago.

She didn’t know much about the system in the beginning. And as she has talked to lawmakers in Olympia, Belcher has been running into what KNKX did in reporting its three-part series: most of the people in charge don’t know much at all about the system — or its problems.

As lawmakers have learned more, their reactions have all been the same: shock and disappointment.

“So people seem ready and prepared to fix it, they just don’t really know how,” Belcher said in a recent interview with KNKX.

All of them are coming into the system from different vantage points, as death investigations touch many issues that are at the forefront of lawmakers’ minds: missing and murdered indigenous women, the opioid epidemic and homelessness, to name a few.

State Rep. Tina Orwall, a Democrat from Des Moines, started learning more about the industry through her work on legislation related to suicide prevention. She’s on the growing list of lawmakers who are in early talks with the King County Medical Society, as the group prepares its effort to lobby for reforms at the state Capitol in the upcoming legislative session.

Read the full article here.