Administrative Code

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Virginia Administrative Code
Title 12. Health
Agency 5. Department of Health
Chapter 550. Board of Health Regulations Governing Vital Records
4/23/2024

12VAC5-550-390. Responsibility of the funeral service licensee.

Each funeral service licensee who has been authorized to take custody of a dead human body shall exercise the following responsibilities with respect to the preparation and filing of the death certificate:

1. When he arrives to take custody of the body, he shall first ascertain whether an attending physician or local medical examiner has established the cause of death as follows:

a. The funeral service licensee shall obtain the medical certification of cause of death from the physician if the death is from natural causes. An associate physician or person in charge of an institution may prepare the medical certification as outlined in 12VAC5-550-360.

b. If a physician attended the deceased but did not complete the medical certification of cause of death, the funeral service licensee shall immediately contact such physician in person or by telephone to be certain that he was the attending physician and to ascertain whether the physician is to assume responsibility for the medical certification or to refer the case to the medical examiner.

c. When a medical examiner assumes jurisdiction in a death, or when a physician in attendance is incapacitated, the funeral service licensee shall obtain the signed medical certification of cause of death from the medical examiner as required by subdivision 3 of 12VAC5-550-370.

2. The personal history of the deceased and the facts of the death shall be obtained from the best source possible. This source may be variously: a member of the immediate family of the deceased who possesses the necessary information; a hospital records custodian whose records contain the necessary information; or the local medical examiner having jurisdiction over a case. The name of the informant, his address and relationship to the decedent shall be entered on the death certificate. The facts required as to the manner and place of disposal of the body or its removal from the Commonwealth shall be entered over the signature of the funeral service licensee. He shall personally sign the certificate and print or type the name of his firm.

3. Except as outlined in 12VAC5-550-410, a satisfactory death certificate shall be filed with the city, county, or special registrar in the city or county where death occurred, or a dead body is found, prior to final disposal of the body or its removal from the Commonwealth, and within three days. In cases where a completed medical certification is not available when the funeral service licensee takes possession of a body, he shall not move the body from the place of death until so authorized by the local medical examiner or until the attending physician has advised him that death is from natural causes and the physician is able to prepare the medical certification of cause of death. In every case, the removal of a dead human body from the city or county of death is unlawful unless notice is given to the city, county, or special registrar by telephone or in person. Such notice shall consist of the name of the deceased, date and place of death, and the name of the attending physician or of the medical examiner, as the case may be, and, if the body is to be removed, the destination within the Commonwealth. Such notification shall be made during the next available business hours of the registrar following the time of death. After business hours, in independent cities and in designated counties, such notification shall be made immediately on assumption of custody of the deceased to the registrar's representative.

Statutory Authority

§§ 32.1-12 and 32.1-250 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from VR355-29-100 § 10.5, eff. April 1, 1995; amended, Virginia Register Volume 19, Issue 26, eff. October 8, 2003.

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