Physicians: Register to file death records electronically or face fines
Doctors must fill out and file death certificates electronically with the Texas Department of State Health Services to comply with a state law passed by the Legislature in 2007. House Bill 1739 mandated electronic death registration for funeral homes and medical certifiers starting Sept. 1, 2007. Doctors had until 2008 to sign up or risk penalties.
Under current law, physicians have five days to fill out their portion of a death certificate. Once completed, it allows the surviving family to continue with funeral plans, distribution of the will, insurance policies, and bank accounts. The Texas Medical Board currently has more than 150 complaints against doctors for not signing death certificates in a timely fashion. This charge incurs a fine of $500 per violation.
Many of the tasks associated with the electronic death certificate may be delegated to office staff, though the physician must enter his or her personal identification number to complete the certification.
To register with Texas’ electronic death record system, go to www.requestTER.texasvsu.org. For assistance with registering, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Find more information about filing death records electronically on the DSHS overview page: www.dshs.state.tx.us/vs/edeath.