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Important Update for Members Involved in Death Pronouncement

Wednesday, October 29, 2014   (0 Comments)
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VIP EDRS Update: Grace Period Ends October 31, 2014  

First of all, the Registry would like to thank all of the various stakeholders and associations that assisted with making the first two months of operation a success. The Electronic Death Registration System (EDRS)was deployed on September 1, 2014. Overall, feedback received from stakeholders indicates the EDRS is working well, that no major issues have been identified, and that funeral homes across the state are seeing the benefits of reduced travel for the electronic records.

The grace period for using the old paper death certificates initially targeted for September 30 was extended to October 31, 2014 to allow the Registry and the Virtual Gateway to process completed account paperwork submitted in July and August. As of last week, all account requests submitted before September 1 have been processed. Therefore, we have decided that all deaths occurring on or after November 1, 2014, must be certified and registered using the new EDRS process and new forms. The old paper death certificate will not be accepted for any death that occurs on or after November 1, 2014.

Unfortunately, a number of accounts will not be created before the grace period ends. Most of these accounts are for online certifiers. That fact may pose a continued burden for some of you, but the backlog is temporary. Registry staff members are working closely with the Virtual Gateway (VG) to process these new applications. Our analysis indicates that fully and accurately completed applications now in-hand will take approximately four weeks to be processed. As always, offline certifiers will be able to complete the certification of the medical part of the death record using the fax attestation process until their accounts have been processed.

We understand the burden that this decision will pose for some of you and we appreciate your patience, assistance, and continued support.

As a reminder, the paper pronouncement forms are still in use and valid when applicable. Offline certifiers will complete a Death Certificate Medical Certifier Worksheetto provide the information for the medical part of the death record to the users who will perform data entry. Data entry will be performed by either medical data entry staff or funeral directors. If the Medical Certifier Worksheet is being used to transport the decedent, the form must be signed; otherwise the signature is not necessary. Certifiers must sign the Death Certificate Attestation Form and fax the signed form to EDRS. This process should be completed within 24 hours of the event.

The Registry continues to encourage all users to provide information on any issues encountered. Providing detailed reports enables the Registry to find solutions and make changes as needed to ensure operational effectiveness.

More information is available at the Registry's EDRS web page:

Questions regarding this communication should be directed to the V.I.P. Project Team via:


Telephone: Please note that there are two separate phone lines dedicated to VIP support.

1. VIP Technical Help Line (617-740-2675): for technical problems using VIP or for enrollment help (creating an account). Help line staff are available Monday through Friday 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

2. VIP Help Desk (617-740-2674): for forms, data entry, navigating EDRS or policy and procedure help. Help desk staff are available Monday through Friday 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Weekend support will also be available from 7:30am to 4:30pm through November 9, 2014.

Please note that VIP support will not be available on other holidays when the Registry is closed.

Antonio Sousa  
State Registrar  
Registry of Vital Records and Statistics Massachusetts Department of Public Health  
150 Mt. Vernon Street, 1st Floor  
Dorchester, MA 02125
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