Death registration system is now electronic

— Governor Andrew Cuomo recently signed into law a measure that will bring a fully modern, electronic death registration system (EDRS) to New York state. Such a system is currently in place in New York City, and 43 other states either have such a system or are developing one.

The Assembly passed the bill unanimously, and the Senate voted 56-7 in favor of its passage.

Previous to the law’s passage, death certificates were comprised of paper with carbon copy, requiring the use of a typewriter and manual filing. This included the personal delivery of these official state records by funeral directors for signature, as well as extensive and costly travel to file the certificates.

The new legislation will allow the State Department of Health to implement and maintain the EDRS for all counties outside of New York City. The law is expected to save funeral homes thousands of dollars annually on travel time, personnel costs, gas and lost productivity, an average saving of $9,317, according to figures provided by the New York State Funeral Director’s Association.

It will promote uniformity in reporting death statistics to the state and federal governments, and enable faster death registration at the New York State Vital Records office, increasing turnaround time for families to obtain certified copies.

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