New York State Funeral Directors Association

Issued January 18, 2019

NYSFDA wanted to alert you to an announcement (VIEW ANNOUNCEMENT) that will be coming to you from the NYS Department of Health (DOH) regarding an accelerated roll-out and implementation schedule for the NYS Electronic Death Registration System (EDRS).

This announcement will contain three components:

  1. The updated, accelerated implementation schedule;
  2. The new ability to file death certificates with the NYS Registrar under certain conditions; and
  3. The onboarding of Private Practice Physicians in EDRS

This accelerated implementation schedule, as well as now giving funeral directors the ability to file with the NYS Registrar in Albany when the local registrar is not yet part of EDRS or cannot be reached, come as a direct result of a recent meeting NYSFDA had with the Executive Staff of Governor Andrew Cuomo. It was at this meeting that your leadership expressed members’ frustration with various entities who were still not using EDRS as required by law.

Under the conditions outlined in the announcement, DOH has taken the unprecedented step of allowing a funeral director to file a death certificate with the State Registrar using EDRS starting on Tuesday, January 22, 2019, provided the region in which they are located has gone “live” for Phase 2 of EDRS. 

At this time, all areas of the State are live except:

  • The Capital District (live on February 7, 2019);
  • The Lower Hudson Valley (live on March 14, 2019); and
  • Northern NY (live on April 18, 2019)

Please be aware, however, that the State Registrar will not be available off-hours, although NYSFDA is actively exploring ways to address this as well. 

In addition to what is included in the announcement, we have been assured that DOH will be hiring three new individuals by the end of February for the sole purpose of overseeing enforcement to ensure that all parties more rapidly comply with the EDRS law. This action should also work to help decrease the number of facilities and individuals who are not yet EDRS compliant, which has been a source of our ongoing frustration.

As an aside, please also be aware that hospitals are now charged with designating a "certifier" who can certify on behalf of the attending physician in those cases where a licensed physician still does not have an account or EDRS role for the hospital. 

Finally, although EDRS staff are working to bring all local registrars into the EDRS system, DOH has streamlined the process so that registrars no longer have to first file paperwork before becoming registered in EDRS. 

Registrars may now phone NYS Vital Records or contact them at edrs@health.ny.gov to initiate joining the Health Commerce System to be EDRS-ready.

While these actions are not a complete cure, we are hopeful that, taken together, they will expedite EDRS implementation and compliance by all parties going forward. We also recognize there remain some grey areas, and we are working to get further clarification.

In the meantime, we at NYSFDA hope this information is helpful and productive.