October 1, 2004
Funeral Home Directors and Licensed Embalmer
RE: Changes is Legislation as a result of the 2004 Legislative Session.
Dear Funeral Home Director or Licensed Embalmer:
With the passage of Public Act No. 04-255, An Act Concerning Funeral Directors And Vital Records, changes have been made that will affect the way you do business related to vital records. The following is a summary of relevant changes in law that will affect your business. The legislative changes become effective October 1, 2004.
CGS Section 7-42 is modified to allow the town registrars the authority and responsibility to “ensure that all certificates of birth, marriage, death and fetal death are fully completed before accepting the certificate for filing.” This change is designed to improve the overall data obtained from vital records. In cases where data is unobtainable, the person responsible for completing the record is required to indicate “unknown” on the record. Funeral Directors should ensure death certificates are complete when filing with Town Clerks.
CGS Section 7-62b is modified (1) to reiterate that the death certificate must be fully completed before being accepted for filing; (2) to require the death certificate to be filed within 5 days from date of death; (3) to allow that, once the death certificate is signed by a licensed funeral director or embalmer, the licensed funeral director or embalmer may designate an unlicensed employee to file the paperwork with the registrar and; 4) to expand the list of health care practitioners who can certify death to include advanced practice registered nurses, physicians assistants, and registered nurses. (refer to CGS., 20-12d, 20-87a and 20-101a of this document). The modification also expands the list of health care practitioners, to include advance practice nurse, physician assistant, registered nurse, chief medical officer or pathologist, who may be assessed a civil penalty if said practitioner refuses or otherwise fails to complete, sign and return the medical portion of the death certificate to the licensed funeral director or embalmer within twenty for hours after death.
CGS Section 7-64 is modified to clarify that cremation is considered the final disposition, and that the place of final disposition for a cremated body as indicated on the death certificate and burial permit shall be recorded as the crematory.
CGS Section 7-65 is modified to make clear that the licensed embalmer or funeral director who assumes custody of the dead body is the person responsible for obtaining a burial permit. Also, the statute now states that burial permits shall be obtained from the town where the death occurred. The modification clarifies a subregistrar, as appointed by the registrar, may make available burial transit removal permits upon receipt of a completed death certificate, during the hours in which the registrar of vital records is closed.
CGS Section 7-66 specifies that the sexton of a cemetery shall record the place of burial by section, lot number or grave number, or other place of internment. This is consistent with the Removal, Transit and Burial Permit, and should help ensure that the permit is completed in its entirety. Language regarding the disposing of cremated ashes, and the recording of the date of burial of the ashes, has been removed consistent with C.G.S. 7-65
CGS Section 7-68 is modified to restrict the issuing of disinterment permits to ‘…the responsible licensed funeral director or embalmer, as indicated on the death certificate or burial permit, or to an individual designated on an order from a judge of the Superior Court..’. The death certificate or burial transit removal permit will need to be referenced to determine the responsible individual permitted to disinter unless a court order is provided.
CGS Section 7-69 is modified to allow a licensed embalmer or funeral director to authorize an unlicensed employee to transport a body, once the dead body has been embalmed or prepared in accordance with the Public Health Code and applicable provisions of the general statutes.
CGS Section 7-72 is modified to provide that sextons who fail to make the appropriate filings of reports as required by law can be fined $100 per day.
CGS Section 19a-270 inserts the term “burial transit removal” permit in place of “burial or transit” permit in order to make the language consistent with other section of the General Statutes.
CGS Section 19a-322 is modified to direct the crematory to complete the cremation permit, retain a copy of the permit for its records, and forward the original cremation permit to the registrar of the town in which the death occurred. This will amend the practice of the crematory keeping the original and sending a copy to the town that issued the permit. The Cremation Permit, VS-48, has undergone a minor revision to provide direction for filing in town where death occurred. A sample of the revised form is enclosed. Replacement forms will be available first week in October.
CGS Section 19a-323 is modified and now requires that if a cremation certificate is submitted to the registrar of the town where the funeral director is located, and this town is not the town where the death occurred, the registrar of the town, may issue a cremation permit, but must forward the cremation certificate to the registrar of the town where the death occurred.
CGS Section 20-12d subsection (d) is modified to allow physician assistants to pronounce death, and certify and sign the death certificate in cases where the death is anticipated. In cases where the physicians assistant pronounces they must also attest to the pronouncement on the death certificate. The physician assistant or a physician can then certify to the death no later than 24 hours after pronouncement.
CGS Section 20-87a subsection (b) is modified to allow advanced practice registered nurse to pronounce death, and certify and sign the death certificate in cases where the death is anticipated. In cases where the advanced practice registered nurse pronounces they must also attest to the pronouncement on the death certificate. The advanced practice registered nurse or a physician can then certify to the death no later than 24 hours after pronouncement.
CGS Section 20-101a is modified to allow a licensed registered nurse or a registered nurse employed by a Connecticut licensed home health care agency and in a home or residence setting, to pronounce death, and certify and sign the death certificate in cases where the death is anticipated. In cases where the registered nurse pronounces they must also attest to the pronouncement on the death certificate. The registered nurse, an advanced practice nurse or a physician can then certify to the death no later than 24 hours after pronouncement.
CGS Section 20-215 clarifies that the embalmer who prepares a body for embalming sign an affidavit attesting to the preparation or embalmment.
I hope this summary will help you adjust to the implementation of these legislative changes. If you have any questions, you can contact me at (860) 509- 7896.
Elizabeth Frugale, RHIA
Registrar of Vital Records
encl: Cremation Permit VS-48