Death Certificates


June 16, 2020

OCME Information for Funeral Directors
Cremation Module in EDRS

The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner has distributed the following information to funeral licensees, Using the New and Improved Cremation Module in EDRS: Information for Funeral Directors Clicking on the link will download the PowerPoint presentation for you to review.

The cremation module in the Electronic Death Reporting System (EDRS) is set to be updated around June 15, 2020. If you have any questions, please contact the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner

Doctor Office Letter
Doctor Office Information Sheet



Dear VFDA Members – Please distribute this letter to all staff using the EDRS.

Good day to all. Looking back on the EDRS changes from this summer, I wanted to address them briefly for you. We knew that making this change to mandatory usage by funeral homes and furthering the usage by physicians at the teaching institutions and those serving hospice programs would not occur without its share of bumps. The messaging by the hospice associations to their members was not as thorough as we would have hoped and when we agree on a mandatory participation by ALL physicians in Virginia, we will make sure that we go above and beyond to spread the message. All that being said, I wanted to send this letter and stress to all managers and owners the importance of making sure each and every staff member who works in the EDRS has some of the key techniques to use.

First, when you are on the create case screen, the EDRS has the ability to link the birth records with the death records. The method I’m going to explain to you is only possible when the deceased individual was born in Virginia. When you begin to complete the information on that screen LESS IS MORE. For a gentleman who was born in Virginia, complete only the box for his first and last name, click yes for born in Virginia, and enter the first and last name of his father. Most times this will allow you to find his birth record. You can use his mother’s first and maiden name also, but for some reason, the birth record is more likely to be found using the father’s name. When creating a case for a lady, the information you use to search is slightly different. Because a lady may have the married name of Jane Jones, but her full maiden name was Jane Smith, try searching this way. Use her first name as such, but instead of using her married last name, use her maiden name in the last name blank. That was the name given on her birth record. Then click yes for born in Virginia, and complete her father’s first and last name. If you are successful in your search, you should be able to see one or more birth records listed below. Be careful in choosing, and make sure that you select the correct person by matching his/her name with the correct parent names. Again, for a female, you will have to adjust her last name to reflect what her last name is at the time of her death. If anyone has any questions about this, you are welcome to call me and I will walk you through a step by step over the phone.

Second, as more and more doctors begin to participate in the system, I want to tell you the easiest way to find them. Much like it is on the create case screen when searching for the birth records, less is more when searching for a doctor. The BEST way to find doctors is to search by only their last name. With common last names, you are likely to find multiple doctors with the same last name. You can scroll through the search results to select the correct doctor. Even though it may result in a higher number of doctors found, this is the simplest method. The slightest imperfection will cause the search tool not to work. When typing a name, be sure you DO NOT put a space at the end of their name. The search function reads that as a character and will also not find the correct doctor.

Over the course of the past several weeks, there have been a large number of doctors getting signed up. With that being the trend, both of these tips are going to be of great help to you going forward. You will start to have more and more death certificates which are fully electronic from start to finish. This is the second step as we work towards full participation. As we have previously stated, if you encounter any doctors who serve hospice programs, that continue to be resistant to the new law, please contact the VFDA office immediately and we will assist in any way possible.

Jay McIntyre, CFSP
VFDA Legislative Chair
McMullen Funeral Home
540.833.2891 – Funeral Home
540.421.6585 – Cell



Code 32.1-263_Flyer

FH_MC_Enhancements_June 2018

The Virginia Department of Health, Department of Vital Records Electronic Death Registration System “Sign-Up” process is NOW ONLINE. Visit and log in using the Sign-Up for EDRS link. If you have question regarding signing up online, please contact:

VDH-DVR Help Desk Contact Information:
Telephone number: (804) 864-7200, press option 2:
Fax: (804) 864-7155
VVESTS support is available during the normal business hours of VDH-DVR; Monday – Friday 8:00AM – 4:45PM (excluding holidays).
Emails are monitored during regular hours only.


The Virginia Electronic Death Registry System (EDRS) is now available for usage on Google Chrome. You can now access the EDRS on your MAC, PC and smartphones and tablets using the Chrome App.


Important Information – Recent Board Adopted Guidance Documents!

During the January 10, 2017 Board Meeting, the following Guidance Documents were newly adopted by The Board of Funeral Directors and Embalmers:

·65-8, Permission to Embalm, adopted January 10, 2017

·65-18, Refrigeration of Dead Human Bodies, adopted January 10, 2017

The following Guidance Document was revised by the Board:

·65-12, Board action on Confidential Consent Agreements – revised January 10, 2017

Please visit our Guidance Documents page to find all other guidance documents related to your profession.


Dear VFDA Members: 

VFDA has been asked by Vital Records/VDH to reach out to licensed funeral directors across the state to provide an explanation of the 2016 legislation clarifying amendments to death certificates.  VFDA brought forward this legislation via Senator Kenny Alexander (SB592 Vital Records; amending death certificates) to clarify what information can be amended via affidavit vs. court order.  It has been shared with us that Vital Records has received numerous calls from funeral directors about the legislation. 

We thought you would be interested in forwarding to your employees for review.  Below is the explanation we provided to Vital Records/VDH, which has been agreed to by them as an accurate explanation.



Please click here to find the Division of Vital Records Business Update

Please click here to find EDRS Questions and Responses

Please click here to find EDRS Stakeholders Group Agenda and Minutes from Previous Meeting


Please click here to view information on how the VFDA gets legislation passed in 2016 on Death Certificates


Please click here to view an updated guidance document from DHP on FOIA Rights and Responsibilities.


Even with the passing of HB1796 relating to death certificate; timely return to funeral director.  We continue to hear from many of you on the lack of cooperation from doctors and medical professionals on signing death certificates in a timely manner.  The VFDA is working closely with the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner and the Department of Health Professionals to continue to educate our members and physicians on who may sign a death certificate.
The Department of Health Professions has available on their website a power point tutorial on this issue and outlines who else can sign a death certificate under the current legislation.  We encourage our members to contact the VFDA office when you are experiencing a problem and reference the power point at



Electronic Death Registration System
Letter from The Commonwealth of Virginia: Completion of Death Certificates
Contact Sheet- Death Certificate
FAQ for Death Certification in Virginia