38 CFR 17.170 - Autopsies.

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§ 17.170 Autopsies.
(a) General.
(1) Except as otherwise provided in this section, the Director of a VA facility may order an autopsy on a decedent who died while undergoing VA care authorized by § 17.38 or § 17.52, if the Director determines that an autopsy is required for VA purposes for the following reasons:
(i) Completion of official records; or
(ii) Advancement of medical knowledge.
(2) VA may order an autopsy to be performed only if consent is first obtained under one of the following circumstances:
(i) Consent is granted by the surviving spouse or next of kin of the decedent;
(ii) Consent is implied where a known surviving spouse or next of kin does not respond within a specified period of time to VA's request for permission to conduct an autopsy;
(iii) Consent is implied where a known surviving spouse or next of kin does not inquire after the well-being of the deceased veteran for a period of at least 6 months before the date of the veteran's death; or
(iv) Consent is implied where there is no known surviving spouse or next of kin of the deceased veteran.
(b) Death resulting from crime. If it is suspected that death resulted from crime and if the United States has jurisdiction over the area where the body is found, the Director of the Department of Veterans Affairs facility will inform the Office of Inspector General of the known facts concerning the death. Thereupon the Office of Inspector General will transmit all such information to the United States Attorney for such action as may be deemed appropriate and will inquire whether the United States Attorney objects to an autopsy if otherwise it be appropriate. If the United States Attorney has no objection, the procedure as to autopsy will be the same as if the death had not been reported to him or her.
(c) Jurisdiction. If the United States does not have exclusive jurisdiction over the area where the body is found the local medical examiner/coroner will be informed. If the local medical examiner/coroner declines to assume jurisdiction the procedure will be the same as is provided in paragraph (b) of this section. If a Federal crime is indicated by the evidence, the procedure of paragraph (b) of this section will also be followed.
(d) Applicable law.
(1) The laws of the state where the autopsy will be performed are to be used to identify the person who is authorized to grant VA permission to perform the autopsy and, if more than one person is identified, the order of precedence among such persons.
(2) When the next of kin, as defined by the laws of the state where the autopsy will be performed, consists of a number of persons such as children, parents, brothers and sisters, etc., permission to perform an autopsy may be accepted when granted by the person in the appropriate class who assumes the right and duty of burial.
(e) Death outside a VA facility. The Director of a VA facility may order an autopsy on a veteran who was undergoing VA care authorized by §§ 17.38 or 17.52, and whose death did not occur in a VA facility. Such authority also includes transporting the body at VA's expense to the facility where the autopsy will be performed, and the return of the body. Consent for the autopsy will be obtained as stated in paragraph (d) of this section. The Director must determine that such autopsy is reasonably required for VA purposes for the following reasons:
(1) The completion of official records; or
(2) Advancement of medical knowledge.
(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 501, 1703, 1710)
[16 FR 5701, June 15, 1951, as amended at 18 FR 2414, Apr. 24, 1953; 24 FR 8330, Oct. 14, 1959; 35 FR 6586, Apr. 24, 1970; 36 FR 23386, Dec. 9, 1971; 45 FR 6939, Jan. 31, 1980. Redesignated and amended at 61 FR 21966, 21968, May 13, 1996; 61 FR 29294, June 10, 1996; 68 FR 17551, Apr. 10, 2003; 77 FR 38181, June 27, 2012]
Effective Date Note:
At 77 FR 38181, June 27, 2012, § 17.170 was amended by revising paragraph (a), removing paragraph (b), redesignating paragraph (c) as new paragraph (b) and adding a paragraph heading., redesignating paragraph (d) as new paragraph (c) and adding a paragraph heading, In newly redesignated paragraph (c), removing “paragraph (c)” each time it appears and adding, in its place, “paragraph (b)”. Redesignating paragraph (e) as new paragraph (d) and revising newly redesignated paragraph (d). Redesignating paragraph (f) as new paragraph (e) and revising newly redesignated paragraph (e) and adding an authority citation at the end of the section, effective July 27, 2012. For the convenience of the user, the added and revised text is set forth as follows:
§ 17.170 Autopsies.
(a) General. (1) Except as otherwise provided in this section, the Director of a VA facility may order an autopsy on a decedent who died while undergoing VA care authorized by § 17.38 or § 17.52, if the Director determines that an autopsy is required for VA purposes for the following reasons:
(i) Completion of official records; or
(ii) Advancement of medical knowledge.
(2) VA may order an autopsy to be performed only if consent is first obtained under one of the following circumstances:
(i) Consent is granted by the surviving spouse or next of kin of the decedent;
(ii) Consent is implied where a known surviving spouse or next of kin does not respond within a specified period of time to VA's request for permission to conduct an autopsy;
(iii) Consent is implied where a known surviving spouse or next of kin does not inquire after the well-being of the deceased veteran for a period of at least 6 months before the date of the veteran's death; or
(iv) Consent is implied where there is no known surviving spouse or next of kin of the deceased veteran.
(b) Death resulting from crime. * * *
(c) Jurisdiction. * * *
(d) Applicable law. (1) The laws of the state where the autopsy will be performed are to be used to identify the person who is authorized to grant VA permission to perform the autopsy and, if more than one person is identified, the order of precedence among such persons.
(2) When the next of kin, as defined by the laws of the state where the autopsy will be performed, consists of a number of persons such as children, parents, brothers and sisters, etc., permission to perform an autopsy may be accepted when granted by the person in the appropriate class who assumes the right and duty of burial.
(e) Death outside a VA facility. The Director of a VA facility may order an autopsy on a veteran who was undergoing VA care authorized by §§ 17.38 or 17.52, and whose death did not occur in a VA facility. Such authority also includes transporting the body at VA's expense to the facility where the autopsy will be performed, and the return of the body. Consent for the autopsy will be obtained as stated in paragraph (d) of this section. The Director must determine that such autopsy is reasonably required for VA purposes for the following reasons:
(1) The completion of official records; or
(2) Advancement of medical knowledge.
(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 501, 1703, 1710)

Title 38 published on 2013-07-01

The following are only the Rules published in the Federal Register after the published date of Title 38.

For a complete list of all Rules, Proposed Rules, and Notices view the Rulemaking tab.

  • 2014-10-27; vol. 79 # 207 - Monday, October 27, 2014
    1. 79 FR 63819 - Copayments for Medications in 2015
      GPO FDSys XML | Text
      DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS
      Interim final rule.
      Effective Date: This rule is effective on October 27, 2014. Comment date: Comments must be received on or before December 26, 2014.
      38 CFR Part 17

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United States Code
U.S. Code: Title 38 - VETERANS’ BENEFITS

Title 38 published on 2013-07-01

The following are ALL rules, proposed rules, and notices (chronologically) published in the Federal Register relating to 38 CFR 17 after this date.

  • 2014-10-27; vol. 79 # 207 - Monday, October 27, 2014
    1. 79 FR 63819 - Copayments for Medications in 2015
      GPO FDSys XML | Text
      DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS
      Interim final rule.
      Effective Date: This rule is effective on October 27, 2014. Comment date: Comments must be received on or before December 26, 2014.
      38 CFR Part 17