Death Registration Information for Funeral Directors and Staff

Importance of Death Registration
Funeral directors and staff are responsible for registering accurate and complete records of death. The death certificate is a permanent legal record of the fact and cause of death. Death certificates are needed by families to settle the affairs of their loved one and to obtain insurance, veterans' and retirement benefits. As a service to the decedent’s family, the funeral director should prepare an accurate death record. This responsibility makes the funeral director the anchor of this country’s death registration system.

National Vital Statistics System
In the United States, the legal authority to register deaths lies within 57 jurisdictions (50 states, 2 cities and 5 territories). Death record information from the 57 jurisdictions is shared with the National Vital Statistics System (NVSS) at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and is used to compile national mortality statistics which inform a variety of medical and health-related research efforts. Local and state public health agencies use information from the death record to assess community health status and for disease surveillance (e.g., drug overdose deaths, influenza and other infectious diseases).

Minnesota Vital Records Program
In Minnesota, the State Registrar maintains the statewide vital records program and the Minnesota Registration & Certification System (MR&C). MR&C is used to electronically register deaths, fetal death reports and births that occur in the state and issue certified copies of death and birth certificates to eligible requesters.

What's New?

The Office of Vital Records (OVR) has programmed MR&C to send emails to funeral establishments when:

  • The medical certifier has been changed on the death record
  • The physician named on the death record will not be providing cause of death (see * below)
  • The cause of death is not filed within three days of the date that fact of death was filed (see ** below)
  • The cause of death has been filed
  • Cremation is authorized
  • A death record has been referred to the medical examiner
  • The medical examiner has approved cause of death

OVR updated the subject lines of email notifications that go to medical certifiers when fact of death is filed. The subject lines now display the action required, the name of the decedent, the date of death and the date of birth. For example:

    1. Provide Cause of Death for {Decedent’s Name}, DOD {xx/xx/xxxx}, DOB {xx/xx/xxxx}
    2. Provide Cause of Death – cremation pending for {Decedent’s Name}, DOD {xx/xx/xxxx}, DOB {xx/xx/xxxx}

OVR also rewrote the contents of email notifications to more clearly explain the reason for the email.

* A physician who hasn’t cared for the decedent and will not be providing cause of death can now click ‘Reply all’ in a Pending Cause of Death email to inform the funeral establishment of this fact and give the name of the physician who will provide cause of death.

** MR&C will send the funeral establishment an email when cause of death is still pending three days after fact of death was filed (unless the record has been referred or assigned to a medical examiner). Funeral establishment personnel will need to contact the physician to urge completion of the death record.

Statutory Authority:

Minnesota Statutes, sections 144.211-144.227 and Minnesota Rules, chapter 4601.

Tuesday, September 08, 2015 at 09:25AM