DEATH SERVICES: 2011 Surveys of State Regulators (GAO-12-91SP, December 2011), an E-supplement to GAO-12-65

Read the Full Report: DEATH SERVICES: State Regulation of the Death Care Industry Varies and Officials Have Mixed Views on Need for Further Federal Involvement (GAO-12-65).


This document presents the results of GAO's 50-state surveys of state regulators of the death care industry. The surveys are similar to the surveys we conducted in 2003, and are designed to update information obtained in the earlier surveys.

We developed five web-based surveys to identify current information on state regulation, enforcement mechanisms, and consumer protections, as well as to identify changes in state regulation since 2003, for each of the five death care industry segments - funeral homes, cemeteries, crematories, sales of pre-need funeral plans, and third party sellers of funeral goods. We sent these surveys to the state official(s) responsible for the regulation or oversight of the death care industry segments covered in our review. For some states, this meant sending surveys to a number of different officials because some industry segments were regulated by different state entities. In other states, this meant sending all five surveys to one official because one entity was responsible for regulation of all segments of the death care industry. Information about accessing each survey was provided via e-mail for those officials identified as being the appropriate contact for participating in the survey. To ensure security and data integrity, we provided each official with a username and password that allowed him or her to access and complete one or more survey(s). We received responses from officials in 40 states regarding funeral homes, 42 states regarding cemeteries, 39 states regarding crematories, 40 states regarding sales of pre-need funeral plans, and 41 states regarding third party sellers of funeral goods.

In this e-supplement, we show the individual responses provided by state officials that replied to the questions on our surveys. Although respondents were asked to provide written comments to open-ended questions, these responses are not provided here. In addition, if state regulators provided responses to survey questions that they were instructed to skip or did not provide a response to a question that instructed them to go to the next question, such responses are not included in our analyses for this e-supplement.

We administered the surveys from April 2011 through June 2011 in accordance with generally accepted government auditing standards. A more detailed discussion of our scope and methodology is contained in our report "DEATH SERVICES: State Regulation of the Death Care Industry Varies and Officials Have Mixed Views on Need for Further Federal Involvement," GAO-12-65 (Washington, D.C.: December, 2011).


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William O. Jenkins, Jr. at (202) 512-8777 or



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