Physician Information
death certificate form

Physician Information

Section 25-2-110 – Certificates of death

Duty of the Physician:

  • If a decedent had an established primary care physician, the primary care physician is responsible for completing the death certificate within 72 hours when:
  1. The death appears to be due to natural causes and is determined as such with a reasonable degree of medical certainty; and
  2. The decedent received medical care from the primary care physician within a year of the death; and
  3. The death occurred when the decedent was not under the direct care of another physician charged with the patient’s care during the illness or condition that resulted in death; and
  4. An inquiry is not required by the coroner.
  • If the decedent had been treated by another physician for a chronic condition or terminal illness related to the decedent’s death, that physician is responsible for completing the death certificate.
  • In either case, the death certificate may be completed and signed by an associate physician, by the chief medical officer of the institution in the absence or with the permission of the responsible physician.
  • The death certificate may be completed by a private physician who performed an autopsy.
  • On and after March 1, 2024, a physician’s repeated or willful failure without reasonable cause to comply with timely completion of a death certificate constitutes unprofessional conduct, as defined in section 12-240-121 (1)(hh).

Duty of the Coroner:

  • When inquiry is required by 30-10-606, the coroner shall determine the cause of death and shall complete and sign the medical certification within forty-eight hours. A coroner is not required to comply if in good faith, he or she determines additional time is needed to make proper inquiry to determine the cause and manner of death.

Duty of the State Registrar:

  • The state registrar shall provide a report on a monthly basis to the department of regulatory agencies and the medical board identifying any death certificates that were not completed in a timely manner.
  • Beginning in 2025, the department of regulatory agencies shall prepare a report to the joint committee of reference including the number of complaints received, and the number of disciplinary actions taken against a licensee in each calendar year.
  • The department of public health and environment shall ensure that all physicians are registered to use the electronic death registration system on or before March 1, 2024.
  • The 72-hour deadline can be extended one day, per day of closure if the business or facility at which the individual is employed is actually closed for an entire calendar day for each weekend or legal holiday day.

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