MURRELLS INLET, S.C. (WBTW) — A change to a state law is expected to speed up the process of filing a death certificate.
As of July 1, every physician, coroner and funeral home director must file a death certificate online, through DHEC. Before July 1, physicians who declared fewer than 12 deaths didn’t have to log it online.
“Families can’t do a lot of things without a death certificate,” said Barry Watson, owner of Watson’s Funeral Services and Crematory.
The death certificate is a vital paper for the family. It allows them to get insurance and other benefits.
“We have a lot of families that rely on the death certificate in order to be able to file insurance or rely on the death certificate to request benefits,” said Tony Papel, a funeral director at Burrough’s Funeral Home and Cremation Services.
If a physician hadn’t signed the paper, it can be an issue.
“It creates problems for the families as well as us, funeral homes and funeral directors,” Watson said.
That’s why DHEC adjusted the law to require every physician, funeral director and coroner to file death certificates electronically into a database.
“It’s a great tool,” Watson said.
“It makes it a whole lot quicker now,” Papel said.
Papel explained that the old way, before the electronic filing, was more time consuming.
“You had to print off the death certificate, had to take it to the doctor for the doctor to sign, then once you have it signed you had to go back and then take it to the health department to get any certified copies for the families so that took a lot of time and manpower,” Papel said.