Fiscal Note & Local Impact Statement

125 th General Assembly of Ohio

Ohio Legislative Service Commission

77 South High Street, 9th Floor, Columbus, OH 43215-6136 ² Phone: (614) 466-3615

² Internet Web Site: http://www.lsc.state.oh.us/

BILL:

H.B. 398

DATE:

May 12, 2004

STATUS:

As Introduced

SPONSOR:

Rep. Stewart

LOCAL IMPACT STATEMENT REQUIRED:

No —

Minimal cost

 


CONTENTS:

Requires the Department of Mental Health, in coordination with specified agencies and organizations, to create compilations of the patients who died while residing at public hospitals under the Department's jurisdiction and of the cemeteries and gravesites of those patients, requires state agencies, subject to certain restrictions, to grant cemetery restoration organizations access to the death and burial records of those patients in order to facilitate the restoration of their cemeteries and gravesites, and makes other related changes

 

State Fiscal Highlights

 

STATE FUND

FY 2005

FY 2006

FUTURE YEARS

General Revenue Fund

     Revenues

- 0 -

- 0 -

- 0 -

     Expenditures

Increase, potentially more than minimal

Increase, potentially

more than minimal

Increase, potentially

more than minimal

Note:  The state fiscal year is July 1 through June 30.  For example, FY 2005 is July 1, 2004 – June 30, 2005.

 

·        Department of Mental Health, Ohio Historical Society, State Library, Secretary of State.  The bill requires the Department of Mental Health (DMH) to work with other state and local agencies to create a compilation of patients who died while residing at public hospitals.  This increased workload could result in an increase in expenditures, potentially more than minimal, to the affected agencies, namely DMH and the Ohio Historical Society (OHS), in terms of data collection, coordination, dissemination, and management.  For the purposes of this fiscal analysis, minimal means an estimated expenditure increase of no more than $100,000 per year for the state.

·        Department of Mental Health, Ohio Historical Society.  The bill requires DMH, or the state agency that possesses the death or burial record, to publish a public notice once a week for two consecutive weeks in a newspaper in the county in which the principal office of the agency is located (The Columbus Dispatch), and in a newspaper in the county in which the public hospital is located.  The Department of Mental Health pays between $500 and $2,000 for capital project public announcements.  These announcements are usually one column on one page.  According to a spokesperson for OHS, the public notices required under the bill could include thousands of names for one hospital, thus the public notices could be several pages in length. The state agency that possesses the death or burial record is required to post two notices in two newspapers. Therefore, LSC staff assumes one public notice submission fee could be as high as several thousand dollars.

·        Department of Mental Health.  The bill also provides a procedure for family members of a deceased patient who wish to have the patient’s death record withheld from the requested, and any future requested, inspection and copying by a cemetery restoration organization.  This process could result in an increase in workload for DMH to maintain the names of patients whose family members wish to have the record withheld.  The amount of the workload increase will depend on the number of requests from family members.

·        Ohio Historical Society.  The public notice requirement in the bill could result in an increased number of requests for ancestral history.  Therefore, there could be an increase in workload for OHS.  The magnitude of the increase in workload will depend on the number of requests received.  The Historical Society has three staff.  According to OHS, it limits staff research and response time to one hour per request.  The Historical Society is open 24 hours per week (i.e., two weekdays and Saturdays).  If each public announcement leads to more requests for ancestral history, additional staff could be needed to handle the phone calls and mailings.

·        The Department of Mental Health. DMH is responsible for adopting administrative rules establishing the criteria and a procedure for recognizing groups and entities that restore cemeteries and gravesites of patients located on the grounds of public hospitals or on property not owned by the state but has been designated by the state for the burial, entombment, or inurnment of patients.  The Department would incur some costs associated with adopting these rules.

Local Fiscal Highlights

 

LOCAL GOVERNMENT

FY 2004

FY 2005

FUTURE YEARS

Local Agencies

     Revenues

- 0 -

- 0 -

- 0 -

     Expenditures

Potential minimal increase

Potential minimal
increase

Potential minimal
Increase

Note:  For most local governments, the fiscal year is the calendar year.  The school district fiscal year is July 1 through June 30.

 

·        Local Agencies.  As mentioned above, the requirement of compiling a list of patients who died while residing at DMH hospitals would result in an increase in expenditures.  The impact on local entities is uncertain as of this writing.  However, it appears that most of the increase will fall to DMH and OHS.

 


 


 

Detailed Fiscal Analysis

 

Overview

 

The bill requires the Department of Mental Health (DMH) to coordinate with the Ohio Historical Society (OHS), the State Library, the Secretary of State, and any other relevant state and local agencies and organizations identified by DMH to create the most complete compilation possible of patients who died while residing at public hospitals.  The compilation is to be used for cemetery restoration organizations to have access to the death and burial records in order to facilitate the restoration of the cemeteries and gravesites.

 

State Costs

 

State Agencies

 

The state agencies are responsible for the following tasks:

 

(1)      Compiling, with assistance from the local historical or genealogical societies, the death and burial records of patients who resided at the hospitals;

 

(2)      Providing death and burial records to cemetery restoration organizations;

 

(3)      Submitting a public notice prior to any restoration work;

 

(4)      Adopting administrative rules establishing the criteria and a procedure for recognizing “cemetery restoration organizations.”  (Applies to DMH only.)

 

How patients’ death and burial records are maintained currently varies among the nine DMH hospitals.  It also varied among hospitals that are no longer in existence.  Compiling death and burial records will require a significant amount of time.  This increased workload could result in an increase in expenditures, potentially more than minimal, to the affected agencies, namely DMH and OHS, in terms of data collection, coordination, dissemination, and management. 

 

Public Notice Provision

 

The bill requires DMH, or the state agency that possesses the death or burial record, to publish a public notice once a week for two consecutive weeks in a newspaper in the county in which the principal office of the agency is located (The Columbus Dispatch), and in a newspaper in the county in which the public hospital is located.  The Department of Mental Health pays between $500 and $2,000 for capital project public announcements.  These announcements are usually one column of one page.  According to a spokesperson for OHS, the public notices required under the bill could include thousands of names for one hospital, thus the public notices could be several pages in length.  The state agency that possesses the death or burial record is required to post two notices in two newspapers.  Therefore, LSC staff assumes one public notice submission fee could be as high as several thousand dollars.

 

The bill also provides a procedure for family members of a deceased patient who wish to have the patient’s death record withheld from the requested, and any future requested, inspection and copying by a cemetery restoration organization.  This process could result in an increase in workload for DMH to maintain the names of patients whose family members wish to have the record withheld.  The magnitude of increase in workload will depend on the number of requests from family members.

 

Ohio Historical Society

 

            Recording deaths became law in 1867.  Ohio began issuing certificates for deaths on December 20, 1908.  The Ohio Historical Society (OHS) holds death certificates for the entire state of Ohio from December 20, 1908 through December 31, 1944 and these are accessible online.  The Ohio Department of Health holds death certificates from 1945 to the present. 

 

In addition, OHS has a collection of mental health records organized by volume according to each hospital.  For example, Cleveland hospital has ten different record groups comprising at least 50 volumes.  One group includes death records.  Another group includes discharge records.  Some hospitals considered death as a discharge.  Furthermore, some hospitals served individuals with diseases other than mental illness. For example, the state hospital of Gallipolis housed both people who suffered from epilepsy and mentally illness. Not all the patients with epilepsy had a diagnosed mental illness.  In order to sort out all of the variables across all hospitals and all years, OHS’ workload could increase significantly.  Such costs could exceed minimal.  For the purposes of this fiscal analysis, minimal means an estimated expenditure increase of no more than $100,000 per year for the state.

 

            The public notice requirement in the bill could result in an increased number of requests for ancestral history.  Therefore, there could be an increase in workload for OHS.  The magnitude of the increase in workload will depend on the number of requests received.  The Historical Society has three staff.  According to OHS, it limits staff research and response time to one hour per request.  The Historical Society is open 24 hours per week (i.e., two weekdays and Saturdays).  If each public announcement leads to more requests for ancestral history, additional staff could be needed to handle the phone calls and mailings.

 

Local Costs

 

            As mentioned above, the requirement of compiling a list of patients who died while residing at DMH hospitals would result in an increase in expenditures.  The impact on local entities is uncertain as of this writing. However, it appears that most of the increase will fall to the Department of Mental Health and the Ohio Historical Society.

 

 

LSC fiscal staff:  Holly Wilson, Budget Analyst

 

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