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WEBSITE OF THE STATE OF SOUTH DAKOTA DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH
Kim Malsam-Rysdon, Interim Secretary of Health

South Dakota Board of Funeral Service

Filing a Complaint about a Funeral Director / Embalmer

Complaints or concerns about a funeral director / embalmer can be filed with the Board. Complaints must be in writing.  The complaint needs to contain a brief explanation of the legal or ethical violation you believe was committed by the funeral director / embalmer.  The complaint must be signed and the board must have an address and telephone number where you may be contacted.  The board does not accept third party complaints unless you are the parent or legal guardian of the person who has a complaint against the funeral director / embalmer.

 


 

Complaints Procedure Used by the Board after a Complaint Has Been Received

Investigative Action

  1. The Board's complaint investigator shall act as the Board's Investigator (Investigator) on all complaints against a funeral director / embalmer.   Only the Investigator, and not other Board members, is to receive the complaint.   The Investigator shall log each complaint against a funeral director / embalmer by recording: (a) the name, home address, and telephone number of the funeral director / embalmer; (b) the name, address, and telephone number of the funeral director / embalmer's employing facility; (c) the name, address, and telephone number of the complainant; (d) the date of the complaint; and (e) a brief statement of the complaint.   The ultimate disposition on the complaint must be recorded when the matter is concluded.
  2. The investigator shall send a form letter to the complainant which: (a) acknowledges receipt of the complaint; (b) identifies the Investigator; (c) informs the complainant that the allegations against the funeral director / embalmer will be provided to the funeral director / embalmer; (d) notifies the complainant that a medical release or release of information may be sought from the funeral director / embalmer's client to aid in the investigation; and (e) informs the complainant that disposition on the complaint will be reported to the complainant.
  3. The Investigator shall conduct a preliminary investigation of all complaints.  The Investigator shall contact the funeral director / embalmer.  The Investigator must inform the funeral director / embalmer that the Board has received a complaint against the funeral director / embalmer and inform the funeral director / embalmer of the substance of the complaint.  The Investigator shall contact the complainant for additional information.
  4. After conducting a preliminary investigation, the Investigator must determine whether a hearing is warranted, the complaint should be dismissed for lack of sufficient evidence, or the matter should be resolved by an agreed disposition.
    • A Hearing is Warranted.  If the Investigator finds that there is reason to believe that the funeral director / embalmer has violated any of the provisions of SDCL chapter they are licensed under or ARSD, then the Investigator must submit to the Board, during a closed meeting if the information to be presented is derogatory pursuant to SDCL 1-26-2, reasons and a recommendation for pursuing the matter at a hearing.
  5.  

    If the Board agrees, by majority vote of members present, with the Investigator's recommendation, the President of the Board, or the President's designee, shall promptly notify legal counsel for the Board of the Board's decision to commence a contested case hearing proceeding.

    The Notice of Hearing shall be prepared, pursuant to SDCL ch. 1-26, by legal counsel for the Board, signed by the President, and sent to the funeral director / embalmer. Noticing the matter for hearing does not preclude a subsequent Agreed Disposition.

    • Dismissal for Lack of Sufficient Evidence.  If the Investigator believes that the complaint should be dismissed for lack of sufficient evidence, then the Investigator must submit to the Board, during a closed meeting if the information to be presented is derogatory pursuant to SDCL 1-26-2, reasons and a recommendation for the dismissal.

     

    If the Board agrees, by majority vote of members present, with the Investigator's recommendation, the President of the Board, or the President's designee, shall promptly send a dismissal letter to the complainant and the funeral director / embalmer.

    If a majority of the Board members present do not agree to dismiss the complaint, the matter shall be noticed for hearing pursuant to 4(a) of this Procedure.

    • Agreed Disposition.  If the Investigator believes that the matter should be resolved by an agreed disposition between the Board and the funeral director / embalmer, then the Investigator must submit, in writing, to the Board the proposed disposition with supporting reasons.

     

    If the Board agrees, by majority vote by members present, with the Investigator's proposed disposition, then an Agreed Disposition and Waiver of Hearing shall be signed by the funeral director / embalmer and President.  After the Agreed Disposition and Waiver of Hearing is signed by the funeral director / embalmer and President, the President shall send a letter to the complainant concerning the agreed disposition of the complaint.

  6. All final Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law, Orders, Decisions, and Agreed Dispositions are available for public inspection pursuant to SDCL 1-26-2.