Coroners say their job has been impeded by an oversight in state law. Champaign County Coroner Duane Northrup says when investigating whether a death was caused by suicide or accident, mental health records can hold the answer. But health care providers aren’t required to hand the records over by law, and sometimes they don’t.
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“For myself personally it happens sporadically on and off and I think it’s more of a fact that it’s unclear in the law whether they have to or not,” he said. A proposal in Springfield would fix up some legal language to make it clear health providers are required to share mental health records with coroners. The measure awaits a vote in the Illinois Senate.