Timely Certified Death Certificates
Current law requires a certificate of death for every death that occurs in Colorado to be filed with the state registrar within 5 days after the death occurs. The funeral director is responsible for filing the death certificate and must obtain the medical certification necessary to complete the portion of the certificate pertaining to the cause of death from a qualified individual. Physicians must complete, sign, and return to the funeral director all medical certification within 48 hours after a death occurs. If an inquiry is required to be made to a coroner, the coroner must determine the cause of death and complete and sign the medical certification within 48 hours after taking charge of the case. If the cause of death cannot be determined within 48 hours after a death, the medical certification must be completed as provided by rule.
The bill changes the time frame required to file a certificate of death with the state registrar from 5 days to 48 hours with limited exceptions. It also imposes a requirement that a funeral director file the certificate within 48 hours if they are able to obtain the medical certification from a qualified individual within those 48 hours. The bill requires that a qualified individual complete the medical certification within 36 hours after the death has occurred unless an inquiry is required to be made to a coroner. The coroner shall determine the cause of death and complete the medical certification within 48 hours after taking charge of the case unless in good faith, the coroner determines that additional time is needed, in which case, the coroner must determine the cause of death and complete the medical certification as soon as practicable.
(Note: This summary applies to this bill as introduced.)