Funeral homes fall behind as death certificate filing is delayed

Coroners can now authorize cremations without death certificate

Funeral homes fall behind as death certificate filing is delayed

EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WFIE) - Back on January 4, Indiana introduced a new online system for processing death certificates.

Due to the quick turnaround from the previous software, Vanderburgh County Coroner Steve Lockyear says death certificates are now sometimes taking over a week to process.

When a person dies in the state of Indiana, funeral homes send their information to a doctor, who then signs off on the death. From that point, the funeral home goes through its local county board of health, and the death certificate is then granted.

Prior to last week, this process needed to happen in order for a body to be cremated.

Lockyear said that some doctors had not yet moved onto the new system, which stalled that process for a lot of people.

In addition, system glitches have popped up and caused processing to fail. In a lot of cases, he said old records have not been transferred to the new system.

Lockyear says this has caused bodies to pile up.

“At one time last week, we were up to 45 family members that were awaiting cremation in Evansville,” he said.

In order to try to alleviate some of the pressure on funeral homes, the state made it so that coroners could authorize cremations without a death certificate.

Lockyear said that most attempts to contact the state about the problem have yielded little reply.

One returned message from the state to the coroner’s office said that officials have had too many inquiries and their replies might be delayed by it.

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