HB130: Death certificates; local health departments to have available upon request.


HOUSE BILL NO. 130
AMENDMENT IN THE NATURE OF A SUBSTITUTE
(Proposed by the House Committee on Health, Welfare and Institutions
on January 15, 2008)
(Patron Prior to Substitute--Delegate Lewis)
A BILL to amend and reenact § 32.1-263 of the Code of Virginia, relating to filing of death certificates.

Be it enacted by the General Assembly of Virginia:

1.  That § 32.1-263 of the Code of Virginia is amended and reenacted as follows:

§ 32.1-263. Filing death certificates; medical certification; investigation by medical examiner.

A. A death certificate, including, if known, the social security number or control number issued by the Department of Motor Vehicles pursuant to § 46.2-342 of the deceased, shall be filed for each death which occurs in this Commonwealth with the registrar of the any district in which the death occurred within three days after such death and prior to final disposition or removal of the body from the Commonwealth, and shall be registered by such registrar, and forwarded to the registrar of the district in which the death occurred, if it has been completed and filed in accordance with the following requirements:

1. If the place of death is unknown, but the dead body is found in this Commonwealth, a death certificate shall be filed in the registration district in which the dead body is found in accordance with this section. Thethe place where the dead body is found shall be shown as the place of death. If the date of death is unknown, it shall be determined by approximation, taking into consideration all relevant information, including but not limited to, information provided by the immediate family regarding the date and time that the deceased was last seen alive, if the individual died in his home; and

2. When death occurs in a moving conveyance, in the United States of America and the body is first removed from the conveyance in this Commonwealth, the death shall be registered in this Commonwealth and the place where it is first removed shall be considered the place of death. When a death occurs on a moving conveyance while in international waters or air space or in a foreign country or its air space and the body is first removed from the conveyance in this Commonwealth, the death shall be registered in this Commonwealth but the certificate shall show the actual place of death insofar as can be determined.

B. The licensed funeral director, funeral service licensee, office of the state anatomical program, or next of kin as defined in § 54.1-2800 who first assumes custody of a dead body shall file the certificate of death with the registrar. He shall obtain the personal data, including the social security number of the deceased or control number issued to the deceased by the Department of Motor Vehicles pursuant to § 46.2-342, from the next of kin or the best qualified person or source available and obtain the medical certification from the person responsible therefor.

C. The medical certification shall be completed, signed and returned to the funeral director within 24 hours after death by the physician in charge of the patient's care for the illness or condition which resulted in death except when inquiry or investigation by a medical examiner is required by § 32.1-283 or § 32.1-285.1.

In the absence of the physician or with his approval, the certificate may be completed and signed by an associate physician, the chief medical officer of the institution in which death occurred, or the physician who performed an autopsy upon the decedent, if such individual has access to the medical history of the case and death is due to natural causes.

D. When inquiry or investigation by a medical examiner is required by § 32.1-283 or § 32.1-285.1, the medical examiner shall investigate the cause of death and shall complete and sign the medical certification portion of the death certificate within 24 hours after being notified of the death. If the medical examiner refuses jurisdiction, the physician last furnishing medical care to the deceased shall prepare and sign the medical certification portion of the death certificate.

E. If the cause of death cannot be determined within 24 hours after death, the medical certification shall be completed as provided by regulations of the Board. The attending physician or medical examiner shall give the funeral director or person acting as such notice of the reason for the delay, and final disposition of the body shall not be made until authorized by the attending physician or medical examiner.

HOUSE BILL NO. 130
Offered January 9, 2008
Prefiled December 20, 2007
A BILL to require that death certificates be available, upon request, at any local health department in the Commonwealth.
Patron-- Lewis

Committee Referral Pending

Be it enacted by the General Assembly of Virginia:

1.  §1. Death certificates available at local health departments.

Death certificates shall be made available, upon request, at any local health department in the Commonwealth, regardless of the place of death.  The Board of Health shall promulgate regulations in accordance with this act.