Contact 9: State makes mistake on death certificates in 2012 - WAFB 9 News Baton Rouge, Louisiana News, Weather, Sports

Contact 9: State makes mistake on death certificates in 2012

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BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) -

It is a small mistake that has caused a lot of frustration in the midst of emotional pain. In this week's Contact 9, Lauren Westbrook tells us about a problem that you might not even notice after losing a loved one; until you read the fine print.

Corliss Kimble lost her mother on January 6, 2012, and it has been hard enough dealing with the grieving process, but then Mary Morel's death certificates arrived in the mail. "It's pretty clear...it notified me that the state made an error in the stamp," said Kimble.

The death certificates were all stamped 2011 instead of 2012. Kimble worried that a mistake like this would lead to trouble settling her mom's estate.

Kimble called the funeral home, and the state's vital records department. She says she was told if she still had every copy she ordered, she could trade them for replacements at no charge, but if she had already sent some off, she was told she would have to pay for corrected ones.

"All these people are paying $7 a piece for something they've already paid for, and ya know $50 or $100 it might not seem like much to me, but you know for a family that might be their groceries for the week."

For Kimble, the money wasn't a big deal, but the whole thing just rubbed her the wrong way. So WAFB went to the public health office in Baton Rouge for answers.

"How did it happen?  When our employee changed the month at the beginning of the year, the year was not updated to 2012," said Dr. Marilyn Reynaud, Public Health Administrator.

Reynaud says this was a simple case of human error; someone didn't change the year on the ink stamp.

All death certificates in East Baton Rouge Parish were affected until the mistake was brought to their attention last week.

WAFB called two funeral homes whose directors were also under the impression that their clients would have to pay the state for their mistake, but Dr. Reynaud says that's not quite right. "We have been working with the funeral homes just to ensure all those affected will get a replacement-there is no charge for a replacement," she said.

There are likely still folks out there dealing with this confusion, so Kimble and Dr. Reynaud hope the word spreads, so no additional financial pain is added to an already emotional time.

Dr. Reynaud encourages anyone dealing with this problem in East Baton Rouge to call the Public Health Office at 225-925-7200.

If you have a consumer complaint, email Contact9@wafb.com.

Copyright 2012 WAFB. All rights reserved.

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