The Texas A&M University System Board of Regents approved the disposition of about 2.5 acres at A&M’s Health Science Center in Bryan as the future site for the Brazos County Medical Examiner’s office at their meeting Thursday.
Regents approved the disposition in open session after deliberation in executive session. The approval is the next step in bringing the medical examiner’s office to the county, which will be a collaboration between Brazos County and Texas A&M.
“The Brazos Valley is one of the larger urban areas in the state that doesn’t have a physician, so that means when we have to deal with things like autopsies, families have to wait many months to get the results, which can be difficult as you can imagine, and our police also have to wait to get the results,” said Greg Hartman, A&M’s chief operating officer.
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Brazos County Judge Duane Peters said the next step is to work out the technical and legal details. Last month, the Brazos County Commissioners Court agreed to set aside $24 million in America’s Rescue Plan funds for the doctor’s office.
“We’ve jumped a few big hurdles, but we still have a little way to go,” Peters said. “We haven’t tried to set a schedule, but we want to go as soon as possible.”
Currently, most Brazos County autopsies are done in Austin, Hartman says. The service area for the Brazos County medical examiner’s office has not been defined, but he said the counties would benefit from an office in Bryan.
Hartman and Peters noted that an advantage of having a doctor’s office in the district is the educational opportunities for A&M’s Health Sciences Center.
“Having a stronger pathology program embedded in the running of a physician’s office, which is going to happen here, will enhance academic learning in the medical school and also give us research opportunities that will be significant,” Hartman said.
While there is no timeline for the office opening, Peters said he hopes A&M and district officials can make an announcement in the next few months.
“Having the ability to do autopsies here locally and not have bodies shipped out of the county, I think that’s a huge benefit to any of the families that have a death that requires an autopsy,” Peters said. “I think we can have, I hope, one of the best medical offices in the state with this collaboration with A&M.” I see that as a really big positive.”