Administrative Services is responsible for assisting families, funeral homes, law enforcement agencies and the public with a variety of needs. Administrative Services works with families to provide them with pertinent information about their loved one’s case. The staff is able to help families understand the death certificate process and, if necessary, the death certificate amendment process. Autopsy reports requests also are received and processed by the Administrative Services.
The Administrative Services staff works closely with funeral homes to ensure that death certificates are completed and able to be filed in a timely manner and to process requests for the issuance of cremation waivers. The staff also electronically completes the medical portion of the death certificate for each deceased individual examined by the Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences. The Institute’s portion of this document is completed within the guidelines set by the Texas Department of State Health Services using the Texas Electronic Registration death process they provide online.
Family Liaison Team:
The Family Liaison Section serves as a contact for the family in helping them obtain information related to the loss of their loved one. This section provides timely and accurate information to the families.
Report Preparation and Distribution
The Report Preparation and Distribution Section oversees the external transcription service, which transcribes all case reports dictated by forensic pathologists, and makes certain that transcribed reports are complete, factual and prepared properly. The section also ensures that finalized reports are stored in a secure database, which this section maintains. Using the Autopsy Report Request Tracking System, this section is able to track the movement of a case file throughout the preparation and finalization process.
The Records Section is responsible for the maintenance of all Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences’ case-related information, including all records, files and reports related to the Institute’s pathology and crime laboratory cases. Once a case is completed, the Records Section ensures that all files and reports related to the case are compiled and that the post-mortem examination report, also referred to as an autopsy report, is made available to other agencies through a secure database – the Deputy Exploration of Electronic Documents (DEEDS) system. The Records Section is responsible for housing all case records in an on-site file room for a period of five years after which they are transferred to the Harris County Records Center.
The Financial Services Section is responsible for carrying out the fiscal duties of the Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences, including:
- Budget management and preparation – Oversees the budget preparation and adherence for each of the Institute’s departments.
- Procurement – Purchases supplies and tracks equipment for the Institute, ensuring that the agency obtains competitive quotes and that the correct documentation is provided to Harris County, as required by State of Texas law.
- Accounts payable and receivable – Processes, verifies and reconciles invoices and ensures timely payment; generates invoices and monitors collection of invoices for services provided by the Institute to outside agencies.
- Grants management – Oversees the application and award process for grants awarded to the Institute by ensuring that proper documentation is provided to Harris County Commissioners Court. In addition, grants awarded to the Institute are financially monitored for compliance of grant guidelines.
- Property inventory – Annually reconciles property inventory and tracks new inventory; oversees the disposal or transfer of surplus property with the assistance of the Harris County Purchasing Services Department.
- Equipment maintenance – Tracks the equipment maintenance schedule to ensure financial arrangements, such as contracts and purchase orders, are in place at the time of maintenance.
- Payroll and employee benefits – Processes bi-weekly time reporting, maintains employee files, administers changes in employee status, and coordinates the annual employee insurance and benefits open enrollment.