The Cost of Dying: New solution needed to move bodies in Henderson


HENDERSON, Ky. (WEHT) — Officials in Henderson are searching for a new solution after a policy change regarding body transport.

The cost of dying in financial terms can be steep even if there is a plan in place. Often, if there isn’t, transport for bodies is needed until a family can decide on a funeral home or next step.

The system used to transport bodies is expensive and changing.

After a death — body transport — is often the last thing on the minds of most.

“We want to be sensitive to families that have a loved one that passes away and nobody’s quite sure what to do with the body initially,” said Henderson County Judge Executive Brad Schneider.

Now, body transport is front and center in Henderson.

“We received notice that on January 31st, the local funerals home were going to quit transporting bodies for the coroners office,” said coroner Bruce Farmer.

Farmer says for years, funeral homes did it at no charge.

More recently, the coroner’s office paid funeral homes a fee per body transport.

“I understand. In times, you know, vehicles, personnel is a big expense for them just like it is for everybody else. But it was growing to such a point that really it wasn’t practical for us to do that any more.”

On Tuesday, Farmer addressed county magistrates at Fiscal Court.

“We are looking at either start transporting our own bodies, contract with a service to do that and bring the bodies here to our office for storage.”

“I think there maybe be some alternatives,” said Schneider. “I think we may have to add more money to the budget for this service.”

Eyewitness News spoke with someone involved with funeral services in Henderson who did not want to go on camera who said there is no price hike in the fees, but that at least one funeral home asked that the county pay what the public is charged to move a body.

So what does that cost?

A ballpark figure is around $300 dollars if it is within 35 miles.

Outside that, it may be more like $3 per loaded mile.

That can add up. Which is why everyone is working towards a solution.

“It’s just one of those new things that comes up once in awhile… that you didn’t really plan for,” said Schneider.

The system differs between counties.

In Union County, the coroner’s office has a vehicle.

In Daviess County, ambulances handle body transport.

Right now, there is a temporary deal with a funeral home to transport in Henderson.

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(This story was originally published on Feb. 14, 2020)

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