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Bill Analysis

Legislative Service Commission

Am. Sub. H.B. 398*
125th General Assembly
(As Reported by S. Health, Human Services and Aging)

Department of Mental Health to create compilations of burial information
(R.C. 5122.44(A) and (B), 5122.45, and 5122.47)
For purposes of the bill, a "patient" is an individual who died while admitted to a public hospital[1] that was under the control of the Department of Mental Health. A "compilation" is a written list of every patient who, prior to the bill's effective date, was buried, entombed,[2] or inurned[3] in a cemetery located on the grounds of or adjacent to the grounds of a public hospital. A compilation must include the following information about each patient listed, as the Department of Mental Health is able to reasonably ascertain: the patient's name; date of birth; date of death or burial; and the specific physical location of the burial, entombment, or inurnment, including the plot or grave site number if available.
Under the bill, the Ohio Department of Mental Health must create a separate compilation for each cemetery located on the grounds or adjacent to the grounds of a public hospital that is under the Department's control on the bill's effective date. The compilations must be completed within a reasonable time, not exceeding three years after the bill's effective date. As soon as each compilation is completed, the Department must deposit a copy of the compilation with the Ohio Historical Society and the State Library.
Access to information for purposes of creating compilations
(R.C. 5122.44(C) and (D), 5122.45, 5122.46, and 5122.47)
The bill requires the Department to use its best efforts to create the most complete compilations possible, using records in the Department's possession. In addition, the Ohio Historical Society and each state agency must provide the Department access to records and information in the possession of the Society or agency for purposes of creating compilations. (For purposes of the bill, "state agency" means every organized body, office, or agency established by the laws of the state for the exercise of any function of state government.) The Department cannot disclose any record or information used to create a compilation except as provided in the public records law[4] and the information disclosure law pertaining to persons with mental illness.[5]

02-05-04p. 1639
    Reported H. Health
11-10-04p. 2208
    Passed House (94-1)
11-16-04pp. 2265-2266
    Reported, S. Health, Human Services & Aging




* This analysis was prepared before the report of the Senate Health, Human Services and Aging Committee appeared in the Senate Journal. Note that the list of co-sponsors and the legislative history may be incomplete.
[1] A "public hospital" is a facility that is tax-supported and under the jurisdiction of the Department of Mental Health. (R.C. 5122.01(G), not in the bill.)
[2] "Entombment" is neither defined in the bill nor in the Revised Code. However, the dictionary defines it as the placement of a thing in tomb. The Random House college dictionary 441 (Rev. ed. 1988).
[3] "Inurnment" is neither defined in the bill nor in the Revised Code. However, the dictionary defines it as the placement of a thing in a funeral urn (a vase for holding the ashes of a cremated body). The Random House College Dictionary 701, 1447 (Rev. ed. 1988).
[4] R.C. 149.43.
[5] R.C. 5122.31.