Press Release

January 12, 2009


State public health director announces more efficient, reliable and accurate system for creating death certificates

All Illinois death certificates will soon be easily recognizable  

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – To streamline the process and get death certificates to families sooner, Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Damon T. Arnold today announced the Division of Vital Records is implementing a new Electronic Death Registration System (EDRS). The system allows physicians, coroners, medical examiners and funeral directors to electronically compile necessary death information, which can then be sent to local registrars for the creation of a death certificate.

“It is crucial for the State of Illinois to be able to create accurate vital records as quickly as possible. The new Electronic Death Registration System, which we are rolling out to all 102 counties in Illinois, will make the process of creating death certificates more efficient and reliable,” said Dr. Arnold.

“I find the system is more efficient in getting the completed death certificate into the hands of the family,” said Sager Funeral Homes Director Trish Sager.

In early October, the Illinois Department of Public Health provided training for the system to 12 pilot counties – Cass, Christian, DeWitt, Logan, McLean, Macon, Menard, Morgan, Moultrie, Piatt, Sangamon and Shelby counties. By October 20, those pilot counties began registering death certificates into the electronic system. On December 1, the pilot phase ended and training began for 10 additional counties – Adams, Brown, Fulton, Hancock, Mason, McDonough, Pike, Schuyler, Scott and Tazewell counties. In 2009, nine more counties implemented the system – Champaign, Clark, Coles, Cumberland, Douglas, Edgar, Ford, Iroquois and Vermilion counties.

Many funeral directors, physicians and local registrars have said they were pleasantly surprised at the simplicity and user-friendliness of the system.

“As a test site funeral home in McLean County, I have been encouraged by the responses from our local physician offices. I find it helpful not driving to deliver, and then return to pick up a death certificate. By the time this system is rolled out to all funeral homes in Illinois, the bugs will have been all worked out and all funeral homes will enjoy the use of the program,” said D. Kevin Smith, Calvert & Metzler Memorial Home Funeral Director.

“I would like to first, congratulate the State of Illinois Division of Vital Records for a new beginning in the way death certificates are created.  I think at first it was hard to comprehend the way this system was going to work, and it is still very difficult to assure all the funeral directors that it is a wonderful system that does work. If they choose to give it a chance, it will work to the benefit of everyone. Once everyone is working in unison, it will be an even better system,” said Dottie Washington, Springfield city clerk.

Using the new system, death certificates in all 102 counties will be printed on standardized, green, security paper that will be easily recognizable anywhere in the U.S. and will help prevent fraud.

It is anticipated the systems will be implemented all across Illinois by late this summer or early fall.

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Illinois Department of Public Health
535 West Jefferson Street
Springfield, Illinois 62761
Phone 217-782-4977
Fax 217-782-3987
TTY 800-547-0466
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